Located in the heart of the Preserve, the Phil Dejana Learning Center has an important mission: to foster a love and knowledge of wildlife and the environment, and to encourage exploration among children through educational programs that utilize all of the resources of the Preserve – trails, pond, beach, woods, and native habitats.
The PDLC provides the perfect setting and resources for an outstanding year-round educational experience for students and teachers as well as families. Nature programs are also designed for school groups of all ages.
The Outdoor Classroom
This unique, beautifully landscaped space covers approximately 10,000 square feet and is specially designed to feature the following locations that support important developmental activities:
- Climbing Area for physical development. Children can run, jump and climb in a safe environment.
- Messy Area for creative play that allows children to build, explore and feel the earth.
- The Amphitheater outfitted with musical instruments for role play and expression.
- Art Area for drawing, painting, and sculpture
- Garden Area featuring six large planters and low beds for horticulture and botany programs
- Water Area with a drinking fountain and water barrel to showcase water conservation and irrigation
- Discovery Area with tables on which outdoor specimens can be examined
- Open Space featuring a large boulder rock on which a student can observe and think about nature, or listen to a story
- Dino Trail located just across a drawbridge, a quarter mile nature trail with two agility stations and a picnic area.
The Indoor Classroom
The Indoor Classroom provides ample space for welcoming school groups, instruction and orientation sessions, coaching, class gatherings, and exhibitions. The 2,000-square-foot building is divided into two brightly lit main rooms with windows facing out onto the Preserve’s grounds. A Teacher Resource Room adjoins the main classroom for lesson planning and observation. The indoor space opens onto the Outdoor Classroom for easy access between the spaces. A bathroom facility is also available inside the building.
The Sands Point Preserve Conservancy provides programs and activities for visiting groups of all ages from public school districts, private schools and preschools, including special education groups. We continually engage parents through Parent-Teacher Associations and Home-School Associations, Scouts and after-school clubs.
Our programs at the PDLC are accredited by Nassau County BOCES. School class trips may be reimbursed through BOCES, district-wide funded grants, or other funding programs. The Center is one of the highly esteemed Certified Nature Explore Classrooms – an exclusive national designation for environmental learning facilities that offer the highest caliber of science instruction. Our experienced teaching staff develop grade-appropriate enrichment nature programs parallel to schools’ curriculum. The Conservancy also offers community service credit to students who volunteer their time to assist us with our programs and activities.
We acknowledge and thank the outstanding team of education experts who guide the planning of all nature programs: professional educators Elaine Ajello and Marian Weissman; Dana Friedman, Executive Director of the Early Years Institute; Patricia Manzi, Director of the Long Island Nature Collaborative for Kids; and Eric Powers, biologist and naturalist of Your Connection 2 Nature.