Tarrytown Nature Club has partnered with the Bronx Zoo since 2014, helping run the free, grant-funded Bronx Zoo Nature Club. Folks from the zoo’s education department host monthly club meetings where families learn about nature and explore outdoors. As the community partners for BZ Nature Club, TNC and Kids Unplugged lead excursions throughout the year. This year we hiked through the woods on Van Cortlandt Park’s John Muir Nature Trail, sledded and climbed trees at Sleepy Hollow’s Rockwood Hall Recreation area, and scooped up water critters at Van Cortlandt Lake. The Spring Celebration, held at the Mitsubishi Riverwalk, was a chance for the nature club families to show the community what they’ve learned. Everyone pitched in to tend stations like bird watching and nature art, and the public was invited to explore and play. A nature-themed puppet show by Jilly Puppets added to the fun. Check out the slideshow to see some highlights from the day.
Tarrytown Nature Club has recently partnered with the Bronx Zoo to help create a nature club there, as part of a new grant-funded program. The folks from the zoo are running monthly nature sessions for the participating local families, helping them become more comfortable with exploring nature through fun games and activities. I’ve been helping in an advisory role. TNC (together with Kids Unplugged, a local adventure travel blog) will also lead monthly excursions for the families into natural areas near the zoo.
The idea for these Bronx Zoo Nature Club excursions is to get the kids into the woods, fields, and wetlands that are all around their neighborhoods, and to let them explore and play. It’s not a nature hike like adults take, where the goal is to get as far or as high as possible. It’s mucking around, finding salamanders, climbing trees, getting muddy — experiences that kids desperately need and yet often don’t get enough of in today’s high-tech world.
Today I explored a new area that I think will be perfect for our first nature excursion- the John Muir Nature Trail in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park. It’s sandwiched in-between two major roads, but once you step onto the trail you could be in any northeastern forest. There are logs to clamber over, birds and squirrels rustling in the leaves, and mossy hollows to nestle into. I can’t wait to bring the kids here on November first.