I choose, to the best of my ability, to allow my children the same freedoms that I had as a child. We all want our kids to be safe. But they deserve a life, too. Despite what you hear on the news, these things are not mutually exclusive.
The Tarpmaster and I went for a bike ride along the Brooklyn shore to Calvert Vaux Park in Bensonhurst, near Coney Island. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and not too hot. The kids didn't come with us as they had other activities with friends.
The spring issue of Outdoors in NYC, the publication that lists parks events citywide, is here. It lists many wonderful weekend outdoor programs including canoeing, family camping, hiking, birding, history and culture tours, fishing, and more—all for free!
The current issue of the Birds and Blooms newsletter has an article that offers a nice overview of urban birding.
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!
For our second consecutive Sunday of family biking, we decided to check out the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we'd only visited briefly in the winter, when it was cold and extremely windy. In June it was the opposite—warm with a welcome cool breeze. Our plan was to bike there, explore, and get lunch from Smorgasburg. Our route, once again planned on the Ride the City site, took us around Prospect Park and down Vanderbilt Avenue.
The summer edition of the Urban Park Rangers' publication Outdoors in NYC is now available in PDF form. It lists all the free weekend events that the Urban Park Rangers offer in parks throughout the city. These programs enable adults and families to experience the natural world in new and unexpected ways. They include canoeing, fishing, hiking, special programs for kids and families, and wildlife viewing.
We decided to do a family bike trip out to the beach at Jacob Riis Park on Sunday, and had a great time despite a couple of snafus in the form of flat tires.
Trees are not only an invaluable asset on our streets and in our neighborhoods, they are one of the most visible aspects of nature in the city. They clean the air we breathe, reduce stress, provide shade, host birds and squirrels, and are beautiful.
At the zoo yesterday I noticed these mud wasp nests built into the lettering on the facade of the "Animals in our Lives" building. Celebrate Urban Birds has a Funky Nests in Funky Places photo sharing page, but I don't know of anything like that for insects.
There's a very good blog post over at Children and Nature Network on the benefits of trees in urban environments. I especially love this quote: "You might not think there is nature in your midst. I’ve noticed that, as a society, we perceive nature to be “out there” rather than here where we raise our families and run our businesses. We think of it as a place we have to “go to” for a getaway.