Most people are either awakened to or are strengthened in their spiritual journey by experiences in the natural world.
There's a nifty interactive map of New York City's waterfront in, of all places, Conde Nast Traveler. Click on the cute icons to explore a variety of attractions and activities from water sports to picnic spots to movies.
I have a new New York wildlife article up on Examiner.com, about nesting birds. Enjoy!
The fall issue of the Urban Park Rangers' Outdoors in New York City is available—the link is to the PDF. It contains a smorgasbord of "Weekend Adventure" activities with something for everyone, including astronomy, orienteering, wilderness survival, wildlife viewing, and kids & family programs. All of the programs are free, so get out there and enjoy!
We spent the holiday yesterday going to, and at, Grandma and Grandpa's house in Long Island, as we usually do. This time we decided to bike there. It's just under 30 miles door-to-door from our Brooklyn apartment to their home by the scenic route through the Rockaways. Almost all of it is bike path or "greenway" through some lovely beachy scenery, and it's mostly flat. (Unfortunately the last bit is on streets with nasty Nassau County drivers who don't believe bikes belong on the road at all.) It took us just over 3 hours because we were riding at a child-friendly pace.
On Sunday, July 1, we took a lovely boat ride with our extended family around Jamaica Bay to learn about the bird life and conservation issues of the salt marsh environment. The 3-hour tour is run from time to time by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society and we were invited through the Flatbush Food Coop's mailing list. I suggested it as something to do while our relatives, the kids' cousins and their parents, are in town.
City Limits has an interesting article about the benefits of city trees and the burdens of caring for them amid drastic budget cuts. Trees cut pollution but storm damage can be costly. Great quote: “There are more people in New York than trees, so if everyone helped out a little bit there shouldn’t be much of a problem."—Sam Bishop, Education Director, Trees New York.
I just heard that the new garden-themed charter middle school for our district got approved. It's an interesting concept. You can learn more at their website and get on the mailing list if you're interested.
The 2011 edition of the New York City Youth Guide to Summer Fun is now available. It's an annual compilation of family-oriented events and resources, and includes activities that span interests ranging from the arts to sports, both indoors and outdoors, and suitable for all ages. The guide also includes a list of all public swimming pools, barbecue sites at public parks, and a section on deals at city museums.
I clipped this factoid somewhere:
"Bet you didn't know that New York City is the greenest city in America. NYC has 52,938 acres of park/open space out of 197,696 total acres (26.8%)."
Maybe it's not so crazy after all to love the big city and love nature, too.
And there's more:
"Central Park, Manhattan's famed green oasis, is only number five on the list of the city's ten largest parks. There are more than 750 different native species of animals and plants throughout the five boroughs, including the endangered peregrine falcon, the sharp-shinned hawk, and white tailed deer.