In Our Own Backyard

We live in Westchester County for many reasons–the excellent schools, the proximity to New York City, the charming villages and family-friendly activities that keep us jumping every weekend.

Among the things I love most about this area are the nature preserves, county parks, environmental centers and long meandering trails hidden just off main thoroughfares. One of these is the Greenburgh Nature Center in Scarsdale. (www.greenburghnaturecenter.org)

Who would guess that just a stone’s throw from gas stations, big box stores and chain restaurants, there is a 33-acre oasis of green lawn and wooded trails? My daughter Grace and I enjoy following the path to the pond, then over the bridge, stop for a moment at the chairs made of tree stumps, and up the hill again. On rainy or cold days, the animal museum in the Manor House is a great place to experience nature. Though I am not overly fond of snakes (I’m more of a turtle person), Grace learned to fearlessly handle one at the Center. The snakes, turtles, chinchilla and ferret live indoors. Outside we visit the bald eagles, turkeys, sheep, ducks, rabbits and prarie dogs. I could watch the prarie dogs pop in and out of their holes for quite a while, but Grace and her friends love the low wooden stage at the edge of the lawn. It’s just the right height and size for impromptu performances.

I received an e-mail today from Anne, a cheerful, animal loving environmentalist who works at the Center. Anne asked me to spread the word about an upcoming workshop about backyard biodiversity. The information is below. But even if you don’t make it to this event, be sure to bring your kids to Greenburgh Nature Center soon. It’s right in our backyard and thank goodness for that!

YES In My Back Yard!
Backyard Biodiversity is for Every Resident

Wednesday, February 10, 2010
7:30 p.m. at the Greenburgh Nature Center

Whether you’ve got a 2 acre lot or an apartment patio garden, you can enrich the opportunity for life to thrive all around you! Learn how we can each contribute to the overall health and beauty of our world as we create a spreading “neural network” of biodiversity in our own backyards.

Mason Curtis, President of the Rye High School Natural Environment Club will talk about the Club’s activities, including their program for Wildlife Habitat Certification of their high school property, the school district, and eventually the City of Rye.

Darrin Duling, Director of the Native Plant Center at the Westchester Community College will present ideas for creating native gardens that will attract and support insects, birds and animal life on whatever size property you have.

Sprainbrook Nursery Proprietor Al Krautter will explain how the use of organic nutrient systems protects our water, soil, and wildlife of all sorts, and creates a healthier yard for our children and pets.

Questions or directions, call: Anne Jaffe Holmes–914-813-1812

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