It’s time to enjoy the great outdoors with the return of the Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program’s free classes for kids on Staten Island.
The Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program, Charleston, teaches kids about conservation and nature. Most classes were canceled during the pandemic, but they’ve returned in full swing this year on Saturdays, 9am-12pm, now through April 23. The youth conservation classes introduce kids to a variety of outdoor activities that bring to life enviro-topics such as conservation, estuary systems, blue- and greenbelt management and more.
“These classes teach kids life skills and give them a chance to socialize with professionals in the field as well as other children,” says Mark Yuknek, president of the program. “It’s engaging for the kids. It offers them skills they’re not going to find online or with technology.”
Topics covered each week range from outdoor sports like fishing and archery, to science workshops and community awareness. While the program is open to kids ages 5 to 17, some classes have a more targeted age requirement.
“The reason we have the age groups is that some of the classes might be a little too much for a 6 year old,” Yuknek says.
Parents don’t have to stay for the duration of classes that are for ages 10 and older, although many of them choose to do so anyway. This is especially true when instructors bring out majestic animals such as red-tail hawks and falcons to meet the kids.
“One of the classes that we do have is Birds of Prey on April 2. We bring in professional falconers,” Yuknek says.
Another animal-focused class is Equine Sports on March 5, when kids go on site to a local equestrian center to learn about horses, including horse care and grooming.
What to Expect at the Zimmer Club Youth Conservation Program on Staten Island
Registration for all of the classes is open. The classes offer kids a variety of opportunities, including:
- Animal Encounters: Kids will meet different animals and go on nature walks to spot wildlife and habitat.
- Outdoor Sports Skills: Kids will get an introduction to a variety of outdoor sports, including archery, fishing, equine sports and more.
- Meet and Greets: Many local officials and representatives from the FDNY, local law enforcement departments and government offices will host information presentations for kids.
Classes are scheduled for the following Saturdays, 9am-12pm:
- Feb. 12
- Feb. 19
- Feb. 26
- March 5
- March 12
- March 19
- March 26
- April 2
- April 9
- April 23
At the end of each class, a knowledge assessment test is administered to help determine end-of-program awards, which will take place during a ceremony on April 23.
The club is following NYC and U.S. CDC guidelines. Learn more about the program and classes offered at zcysi.org.