Nature & Sustainability
Smiling nature students surrounded by a tortoise
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Our Summer Nature Program

Usdan’s magnificent forest, nature center, and organic garden provide a vast outdoor laboratory for teaching and learning.


In our hands-on nature program, students study the art of planting, growing and cultivating food by caring for Usdan’s own fruit and vegetable gardens. Exploring the flora and fauna in Usdan’s idyllic woodland forest allows students to understand the delicate relationships at the heart of Long Island’s vibrant local ecosystem. In an innovative course on sustainable art, students are challenged to combine art, science and empathy to identify creative and sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students also care for the Nature Department's pet snakes, lizards, and tortoise.


2020 Majors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Sustainable Design.

2020 Minors

Nature, Ecology & Design; Garden to Table.

2019 Faculty

Sustainable Art, Lead Teacher

Andre Feliciano

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

Steve Finkelstein

Steve Finklestein is a former park ranger, resident naturalist, environmental educator, and interpretive design consultant. For the past 30 years, he has taught at East Wilson School District. As a musician, Steve is a freelance percussionist who has performed internationally and recorded with acts that include Mariah Carey, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Dave Valentine, Selena, Randy Brecker, and others. Steve leads Usdan’s Nature, Ecology and Design class.

Nature, Ecology and Design, Lead Teacher

Amanda Signorelli

Amanda Signorelli is an arts educator devoted to helping young people foster a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. She currently teaches middle school art in Nassau County. Amanda is inspired by the natural world and, as Nature, Ecology, and Design instructor, she uses Usdan’s campus to connect her students to the artistic beauty in nature.

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

Emily Llewellyn

Emily Llewellyn is currently a sophomore at SUNY-New Paltz, where she is studying theater performance and psychology. She is a keen choreographer, makeup artist, and singer, and also enjoys golf and nature. At Usdan, Emily teaches in the Nature, Ecology and Design program.

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Assistant Teacher

Steven Estes

Nature, Ecology, and Design, Lead Teacher

Cindy Mcglynn