Stress reduction, greater physical health, a deeper sense of spirit, more creativity, a sense of play, even a safer life—these are the rewards that await a family then it invites more nature into children's lives.
The Tarpmaster had back-to-back business travel upstate and to Long Island over the past and coming week, so we had a rental car over the weekend. We decided to take advantage of the opportunity to go upstate for some outdoor adventure. We planned an excursion to New Paltz, with a hike in Minnewaska State Park Preserve, a visit to Adair Vineyards, and dinner at Rock Da Pasta in town, which offers gluten-free options.
The winter edition of the Parks Department's quarterly publication, Outdoors in NYC, is available online now in a PDF version. Outdoors in NYC lists all of the free activities and programs throughout the parks system in the five boroughs. From Winter Photography to Emergency Preparedness, the Urban Park Rangers have programs that are perfect for individuals and families—and all are free!
It's finally happened: the boys are at the age to rebel against what their parents want, and for us now that means going camping. Sigh. They actually just grumbled a bit about going and of course had a great time once we set off. That was a couple of hours later than we had hoped/planned; we weren't all packed and ready to go till about 5:30. The drive is about two and a half hours without traffic, and we also had to stop for some groceries and dinner on the way. Traffic getting out of the city wasn't too terrible, but we didn't stop until after 8, somewhere between Islip and Patchogue.
AMC Outdoors has a great article about a family camping trip to Floyd Bennett Field. Although I've known about the camping there and have been to Floyd Bennett for other activities many times, I've never camped there myself. If you want to know what it's like, read the AMC Outdoors story.
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!
The new summer issue of "Outdoors in New York City" is now available from the Department of Parks and Recreation. The seasonal guide lists events and activities with the Urban Park Rangers at parks throughout the city. Activities range from history and culture, to family camping, to canoeing and biking, to free outdoor movies, and more. Check it out!
Saturday, June 23rd, at the Central Park Bandshell the NYC Parks department will present Adventures NYC, a free day of outdoor adventure sponsored by Backpacker magazine. Activities will include the UBC Rock Climbing Zone, Human Hamster Wheels, hand cycling, health and fitness clinics, the REI Adventure Zone, Kayaking Zone with stand-up paddle boarding tank, Mountain Bike Expo, a bike helmet giveaway by the NYC Department of Transportation, gear exhibits, live music, and more.
This weekend is I Love My Park Day, a statewide event to enhance the state’s parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the park system's needs. Volunteers will clean up park lands and beaches, plant trees and gardens, restore trails and wildlife habitats, remove invasive species, and work on site improvement projects.
No Child Left Inside
- Naturally Curious Nature Walks Guided nature walks for kids in Prospect Park
- Building Bridges to the Outdoors (Sierra Club Youth Program)
- Young Birders Network
- Hooked on Nature
- Connecting Children With Nature
- National Environmental Education Foundation
- Park Slope Parents Camping with Babies and Toddlers
- The Green Hour
- Free Range Kids blog
- Rain or Shine Momma's list of outdoor family blogs
- Nature Rocks
- Children & Nature Network
- Richard Louv's Blog
- KOA Camping with Kids Page
- A Little Campy Family camping blog
- PEAK (Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids)
- AZ Writer "Backpacking, Bubbles, Bugs & Boogers"
- Frog Mom
- Nature Canada
- Christodora: environmental education and leadership training for New York City public school students
- Scout Pack & Troop 187
- US Outdoor Hiking Resource Guide
- Adventure Parents
- Tinkergarten outdoor activities for kids
- AMC's Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog
- AMC's Kids Outdoors community
- Backcountry with the Kids
NYC & Urban Nature
- Birding Dude NYC birder's blog
- Outdoorfest's Find Your Adventure Page within or outside the city
- Natural Areas Conservancy
- Gardening with NYC Native Plants
- The Center for Humans & Nature's City Creatures blog
- NY-NJ Trail Conference info on hikes accessible by public transit
- Gotham Coyote Project
- Sea and Sky New York blog
- The River Project
- The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
- The Linnaean Society of New York
- Prospect Park
- NYC Parks Department
- Register for Urban Park Rangers' free events
- Million Trees NYC
- NY Restoration Project community gardens and green spaces
- The Natural Capital "Getting outside, inside the beltway."
- Backyard and Beyond excellent daily blog about nature in Brooklyn
- Urban Wildlife Guide
- The City Birder
- NYC Wildflower Week
- Nature Block Party National Urban Biodiversity Week
- The Brooklyn Bird Club
- GrowNYC NYC greenmarkets, recycling, and much more!
- Canoe & Kayak Launch Sites in NYC
- NYC Water Trail Association Site includes a long list of community boating groups around the city.
- Nature Calendar "An informative and entertaining blog about the flora, fauna, and phenomena you can witness right here in the city."
- Shorewalkers environmental and outdoors group dedicated to promoting and preserving New York City's surrounding shores
- Urban Divers Estuary Conservancy's Enviromedia Mobile
- WildMetro "Protecting nature where we live."
- NYC Park Advocates
- Urban Swim
- NJ Scuba's Marine Biology of the NY Metro Area
- New York Nature
- Daily Kos-Backyard Science Human encounters with nature.
- NYC Ecoflora a NY Botanic garden citizen science project on urban plants
The Environment & Activism
- The Wilderness Society
- Transportation Alternatives
- National Wildlife Federation
- Appalachian Mountain Club
- Adirondack Mountain Club
- NYC Hudson River Valley Greenway
- Harlem Valley Rail Trail"
- Cape Cod Rail Trail
- One World, One Ocean
- How Clean is Your Electricity? Look it up by zip code!
- Sierra Club's Daily Ray of Hope An email a day of a beautiful photo and inspirational quotation.
- National Parks Conservation Association
- League of Conservation Voters
- Leave No Trace
- American Hiking Society
- Outdoor Afro Where black people and nature meet
- Center for Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health
- Restore America's Estuaries
- The American Littoral Society
- Outdoor Nation Be an "Outsider."
- Living Lands and Waters
- NY/NJ Trail Conference find hikes accessible from NYC by public transit
- Gone Hikin' blog hikes in NY, NJ, CT, PA, and VA
- Project Noah citizen science
- Zooniverse Citizen Science projects
- Project Squirrel
- Birdsource/Great Backyard Bird Count
- Pigeon Watch
- Firefly Watch
- AZA Frogwatch
- Monarch Butterfly
- North American Butterfly Association
- Lost Ladybug Project
Fun & Informative
- The Night Sky at Space.com
- Butterflies and Moths of North America
- Discover the Forest
- All About Birds (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology)
- Native Plant Information Network
- Eat the Invaders "fighting invasive species, one bite at a time"
- Be Plantwise useful resource on invasive species and gardening
- David Fischer's American Mushrooms lots of interesting facts and photos
- Live Science Image of the Day
- Nature Blog Network
- National Toy Hall of Fame
- Corn Mazes America map & directory
- All of Nature
- Earthcache —like geocaching but the "cache" is an activity
- Amateur Astronomers Association
- Pocket Ranger State Parks & Wildlife Apps
- AMC Outdoors' Equipped blog Great gear guide.
- Catalogue of Life
- Bird and Moon Nature comics and charts.
- New York Natural Heritage Program
- Dirty Gourmet outdoor cooking
- Songs of Insects