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.
I decided that since we didn't go camping this weekend, we'd at least do a hike in the city. I've been wanting to go to Marine Park for some time, since I keep reading about birding there in other NYC nature blogs. However, it's a longish ride by public transit, so I hadn't gotten myself organized to get there before now; this weekend we had access to a car.
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.
Sierra Magazine's The Green Life blog has a great piece on sustainable foraging. It offers some useful insights and advice if you're interested in wild foods but concerned about potential damage to native plant populations.
I normally wouldn't go on an organized hike with an outfitter because in general, we have our own expertise. We don't have our own car, however, in which to escape the city heat. I've always wanted to do a yoga or meditation retreat, but they've always seemed too expensive and time-consuming. I happened to spot an Amazon Local deal for a one-day yoga hike with Destination Backcountry Adventures, and one of the dates was July 16, while all my boys are away at Scout camp or the National Jamboree, so it seemed perfect.
The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in Nature is a book I'm sure I will reread or at least dip into again and again. It is beautifully written and packed with fascinating information about the ecology of the eastern forest.
The Tarpmaster said he wanted to go on a hike for Fathers' Day, so we planned an excursion with his parents. I did some research into places to go and settled on Conetquot River State Park, in Suffolk County. I figured my father-in-law wouldn't want to spend the whole day driving, and the park is only about 45 minutes from their house. It's kind of surprising that after 20 years living with a native of Long Island, I haven't seen more of its natural areas.
One of the things that makes poison ivy so hard to avoid is that its appearance can vary quite a bit. But "leaves of three, let it be" encompasses many perfectly harmless plants as well as the evil weed. Here's a cute, interactive poison ivy quiz—try it even if you think you know poison ivy. Even I got one wrong! You may learn to identify some other common wild plants while you're at it.
Weeds: In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants is a really interesting book, both fact-filled and thought-provoking.
It's May and that means flowers—the 6th annual NYC Wildflower Week is here. This year, they're expanding their programming to all of NYC's nature, including salamanders, birds, and mushrooms along with our native wildﬂowers.
Events range from botanical walks and garden tours throughout the five boroughs to children's activities. See the full schedule of events here.
USA Today published a piece recently listing the 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests, based on which cities have the most parkland per capita and which do the most to create green spaces and make them accessible to the public. And—guess what—New York is one of them, with a surprising 19.5% parkland! Besides New York, cities that made the list are Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.