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Green Chimneys Overview

Brewster, NY
501 to 1000 employees
Nonprofit Organization
K-12 Education
$25 to $50 million (USD) per year
Green Chimneys operates an accredited special education school, residential treatment center, animal-assisted and nature-based therapeutic programs, and community based support for youth and families. The Farm & Wildlife Center houses nearly 300 animals ... Read more

Mission: Green Chimneys is a multi-faceted nonprofit helping young people to maximize their full potential by providing education, residential, clinical and recreational services in a safe and supportive environment that nurtures connections with their families, the community, animals ... Read more

Green Chimneys – Why Work For Us?

Founded in 1947 and headquartered on a farm and wildlife center in Brewster, NY, with a second campus in Carmel, NY, Green Chimneys is recognized as a worldwide leader in animal-assisted therapy and educational activities for children with special needs. Green Chimneys services include an accredited special education school on two campuses; residential treatment center; nature-based therapeutic programs; community-based support for youth and families; and public education and recreation opportunities for all ages.

Each of our programs celebrates the dignity and worth of all living things. We are pioneers in animal and nature-based therapy, striving to create a harmonious relationship among children, animals and the environment through an array of educational, residential, recreational, and mental health services.

Through innovative therapies and tools to teach critical life skills, Green Chimneys helps youth reclaim their childhood, discover their self-worth and create a future for themselves as independent, contributing adults.

Green Chimneys is a 501c3 corporation. Programs and services are funded by private donations and grants from foundations, corporations and public agencies.

Meeting Special Needs

Green Chimneys offers day and residential programs for students who have been unsuccessful in traditional education environments and who require a small, structured and supportive setting. Natural surroundings create a safe, therapeutic environment for students with special needs, incorporating innovative animal-assisted and nature-based activities. A nurturing approach features small class sizes, high staff-to-student ratio, and certified teaching staff to provide full academic, behavioral and emotional support for grades K-12. Our goal is to help students reach their maximum potential so they may return to their home school district with the best chance of success.

Partnering with Animals

Green Chimneys is home to over 200 farm animals, horses and unreleasable wildlife. The main criteria for animals in the program are that they play a supportive role with the children. Domesticated animals, such as sheep, goats, chickens, dogs and other animals accustomed to living with people make up the majority of animal residents and these are the animals that provide close contact with the children.

Non-domesticated species such as eagles, hawks and owls live in our wildlife center. The children do not handle them in the same way they work with the farm animals and dogs; the philosophy behind working with wildlife is to teach that not all animals are there to be hugged. Some animals also come to Green Chimneys with a difficult history, which allows for productive metaphors with children who are overcoming challenges in their own lives.

Safeguarding the Environment

We believe that children thrive in an outdoor environment and are committed to teaching them how to preserve it. We collaborate with local and regional schools to provide ‘hands-on’ environmental learning through student trips to our 350-acre nature wonderland, which includes a Model Forest to promote learning and best practices in forest management and water conservation. Our farm and wildlife rehabilitation programs teach about the care of rescued animals while our organic farm and gardens incorporate nature study and sustainable practices.

Reaching out to Underserved Youth

We provide comprehensive support services to at-risk, runaway, homeless, and foster care youth and families in crisis within Putnam County. An array of programs promote positive development, healthy choices and effective family communications, along with social supports and service coordination for youth in need of higher level interventions.

Supporting the Community

Nature’s Nursery provides year-round preschool and quality after-school programming, and accredited day camp programs for children and teens are offered at our Hillside and Clearpool Summer Campsites. Family-friendly events and activities are held throughout the year, and we encourage weekend visits to our Farm & Wildlife Center. For a taste of Green Chimneys, visitors can bring home fresh produce, organic products, and local crafts from our own Boni-Bel Farm & Country Store.

Green Chimneys is a comprehensive multi-service agency with programs in Putnam County, New York and Danbury, Connecticut, and the third largest employer in Putnam County. We are known for our nature-based philosophy encompassing animals, plants and outdoor adventure, and encourage highly motivated, talented candidates to join our staff.


We offer a competitive benefits package to permanent, full- and part-time employees.

The Experience of Working at Green Chimneys

Green Chimneys operates a friendly and caring family environment where colleagues and clients are treated with care and respect. Green Chimneys is also an animal-friendly, nature-focused community that believes in the dignity and worth of all living things.

We maintain a safe work environment and all employees are expected to manage their responsibilities within a safe milieu, fostering an environment of trust, open communication and respect for clients, coworkers, and themselves at all times.

Working at Green Chimneys is a life-long learning experience. Employees are encouraged to expand their skills, get involved in new initiatives and participate in decision making.

We value:

  • Diversity on all levels, both personal and professional
  • Best practices and new ideas to answer ‘How can we be better at what we do?’
  • People who are flexible and enjoy new challenges
  • Commitment and longevity (some employees have been here for over 40 years!)
  • The connection between humans and the natural world

Green Chimneys is an Equal Opportunity Employer and offers employment to all qualified individuals without regard to age, color, creed, marital status, national origin, citizenship status, disability, race, religion, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity or gender expression in all personnel matters, including recruitment, evaluation, selection, promotion, compensation, training and termination. Under the Green Chimneys Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, we take affirmative action to recruit, hire, develop, transfer and promote qualified members of protected groups (defined as racial minorities, women, physical or mentally disabled, persons age forty or over and veterans).

Green Chimneys Reviews

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Green Chimneys Executive Director Dr. Edward Placke
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    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
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    I have been working at Green Chimneys (More than 3 years)


    Green Chimneys is a great place to work! I am planning to continue my education in grad school and they are very flexible and helpful with my progress.


    Some departments are better to work in than others.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to strive for better communication with employees and their clients.

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Green Chimneys Photos

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Green Chimneys Interviews



Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview





    Special Education Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Brewster, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview


    I applied in-person. The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Green Chimneys (Brewster, NY) in June 2012.


    I had an interview a few of the of the school supervisors. They were all really nice and made me feel comfortable. Some of the questions were difficult but I could see that they made sense for the position and Jen and Alexa were really making me feel supported and gave me time to collect my thoughts. One of the supervisors was not as nice but he is not a supervisor anymore.

    Interview Questions

    • Mostly questions about how you balance teaching the students with managing the different kinds of behavior I would work with. Also about what profesional development I wanted, working well with parents and co-workers, curriculum things, handling difficult behaviors. One thing i had never been asked in an interview that they asked was what kind of support I would want from my supervisor and I liked that.   Answer Question
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Green Chimneys Awards & Accolades

  • 2018 Program of the Year, Childcare Council of Putnam and Dutchess counties, 2018

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