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Little Friends of Orchard Beach

What: A STEAM-based educational program

Who: Pre-K to 3rd grade classes school visits

When: monthly classroom visits from September-June 

Where: Bronx schools located in the Pelham Bay Park/Orchard Beach neighborhoods

Current Participants: P.S. 160, P.S. 596, P.S. 178, Villa Maria Academy

Current Funders: Con Edison, Tortuga Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, TD Charitable Foundation, New York Yankees Foundation, Educational Foundation of America, HW Wilson Foundation, Rose M. Badgeley Residuary Charitable Trust, Partnership for Parks

Goals: Participants in the Little Friends of Orchard Beach program will:

  • Understand that Orchard Beach and Pelham Bay Park are located in their neighborhoods and accessible by public transportation

  • Be able to recognize flora and fauna found at Orchard Beach and Pelham Bay Park

  • Understand that Native Americans used to live in these neighborhoods

  • Understand the connection between animals, people, and the environment

  • Be able to talk about (or draw/write) ways in which they can help protect and preserve the natural environment in their neighborhood

  • Want to visit the beach or park with their families

Program Description


Little Friends of Orchard Beach (LFOB) is designed to connect the people of Pelham Bay to the nearby park and waterways around Orchard Beach. It encourages teachers to use the story of the Native American Siwanoy who used to inhabit the Bronx as a tool to teach history and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). By exploring how the Siwanoy used natural resources to survive, children will develop a deeper understanding of the role that nature plays in all cultures, thereby becoming stewards and caretakers of their own local environment.

The Little Friends of Orchard Beach program includes:

  • A set of educational materials, including Common Core-aligned lesson plan packets, our illustrated Fun Fact Cards, books, and other materials

  • Teacher Training on how to use the LFOB curriculum and materials in the classroom

  • Monthly classroom visits including a pottery workshop, microscope lab, and reading of a Lenape folktale

  • An ending reception with parents, including a field trip to Orchard Beach

  • An Exit Interview wherein teachers are asked to provide feedback on how to improve the Little Friends program in the future.




The concept for this program was inspired by the discovery of ancient Native American artifacts that were recently found in Pelham Bay Park. The artifacts, which date to 1,800 years ago, are some of the oldest found in the entire city, and could come from a people related to the Siwanoy Native Americans who later inhabited Pelham Bay Park.


In creating the Little Friends program, the Museum consulted with local groups such as the Parks Department, Friends of Pelham Bay Park, Bartow-Pell Mansion & Museum, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the City Island Nautical Museum.


For more information on the Little Friends of Orchard Beach program, please contact Nicole Wallace, Director of Education.


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