• Nature Play is Good for Children (and Adults Too!)

    Nature Play is Good for Children (and Adults Too!)

    Studies show that spending time in nature provides children with a wide range of health and cognitive benefits. Nature play improves children’s love of learning, academic performance, focus and behavior. Unstructured outside play, specifically, builds confidence, promotes creativity and imagination, activates multiple senses and reduces stress and fatigue. “Green exercise” has greater physical and mental health benefits than physical activity indoors. A 2019 study by the Outdoor Foundation found that adults and children are playing outside less than they did a decade ago. Unfortunately, this is not a new finding. In 2005, Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods, coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to define the human costs of alienation from nature. In a recent New York Times article, Louv stated “Ironically, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, as tragic as it is, has dramatically increased public awareness of the deep human need for nature connection, and is adding a greater sense of urgency to the movement to connect children, families and communities to nature.” Providing access to natural areas is central to the Land Alliance’s mission. Even before the pandemic a children’s nature play area appeared on our “wish list” alongside new trails, meadow restoration and public access improvements. Through the generous support of Randi and David Hoyt, Milena and DR Holmes and an anonymous donor, the Land Alliance was able to work with a children’s nature play designer to develop plans to transform what had once been a dilapidated caretaker’s cottage into a nature play area. Unlike a traditional playground (made from metal and plastic), nature play areas are made from materials found in nature, with many sourced from the property itself, like bamboo from the John P. Humes Japanese Stroll Garden and wooden seats from nearby fallen trees. Site preparation began in late winter and installation of the hardscape and plantings was completed in April. The nature play components will be installed this summer. Do stop by and bring your children and grandchildren! Here are some resources to help you learn more about nature play. Tree stumps, bamboo stalks, pinecones, leaves and twigs are the toys of nature that spark collaboration, creativity, imagination, inventiveness and problem-solving. When children are given the space and time to play freely outdoors, the whole child benefits. Children and Nature Network – www.childrenandnature.org Richard Louv – www.richardlouv.com National Wildlife Federation – www.nwf.org/Home/Kids-and-Family/Connecting-Kids-and-Nature/Nature-Play-Spaces Natural Learning Initiative – www.naturallearning.org

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  • Roosevelt Community Garden

    Fourth Season at the Roosevelt Community Garden

    The Roosevelt Community Garden celebrated its fourth year on April 1, 2021.  The Garden has become more than just a place to grow organic fruits, vegetables and herbs; it also is a place for gardeners to come together, to share and learn from each other. Situated in the hamlet of Roosevelt on a 10,000 square foot lot, the Garden boasts 49 raised garden beds, a garden library, picnic tables and two tool sheds. It’s open from sunrise until sunset April until November. During the growing season, gardeners and volunteers join forces to plant, weed, water and grow a variety of crops. They share in the bountiful harvest and grow food to share with community members in need. During these difficult times, the Garden is also helping to fight food insecurity. This was the original idea for the garden, but that notion became much more critical throughout the weeks and months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Garden has created a sense of community. Neighbors are working together, getting to know one another, caring for each other, building new kinds of relationships and creating a more unified community. Many thanks to Nassau County for making this opportunity available to the community. Special thanks to the volunteer Master Gardeners from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County for leading many of our educational programs in person or online. Their lifelong love of gardening and agricultural expertise continues to be an invaluable resource for the Garden and its members. To volunteer or for more information about the Garden, please contact Andrea Millwood at [email protected] More information about the Garden can be found online at www.northshorelandalliance.org/rcg. Special Thanks to Edrington Brands for Supporting the Roosevelt Community Garden We are most grateful to Marc Bromfeld and Edrington Brands for their generous $10,000 donation to help enhance our Garden and ensure that it is sustainable for another year. This spring, a wooden gazebo with aluminum roof was installed to create a more comfortable seating area for Garden members and volunteers to socialize and for educational programs. The gazebo will also bring warmth and character to the garden and provide shade for those working in the summer heat. A portion of the proceeds will also be set aside for programs in 2022. We hope the community finds great enjoyment in the space provided. Special thanks to Jill DeGroff, one of the first individuals to sign up to volunteer at the Garden in 2018, for spearheading this donation. We are most appreciative and grateful for her support.

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  • Photo Credit: Tina Walsh for Hudson River Park

    How Investments in Clean Water Can Restore Ecosystems

    In March, after a long year of social distancing and cold, cloudy weather, two dolphins were spotted swimming up the East River in New York City. This atypical pair provided a much-needed sign of hope and recovery for City dwellers. Even more surprisingly, tiny seahorses can now be found clinging to oyster cages and other submerged objects in the lower Hudson River. These little seahorses, known as the Lined Seahorse, are one of many aquatic species that now make up a diverse and thriving ecosystem in the Hudson River estuary. For decades, the Hudson River was severely polluted after PCBs, oil, heavy metals and solvents were all dumped into the river by factories producing cars and paper. At one point, local fishermen could tell what color General Motors was painting cars based on the color of the river that day! In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act to restrict “point sources” such as factories and power plants from discharging contamination into US waterways. Over the nearly 50 years that have passed since then, NYC has invested more than $12 Billion to upgrade wastewater treatment to improve the health of the Hudson’s delicate, aquatic ecosystems. And, it has worked. A 2017 report by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection found that the Hudson River is the cleanest it has been in over a century as evidenced by the presence of the Lined Seahorse that would not be found in the Hudson River without these extraordinary cleanup efforts. Efforts such as these give us hope that if we take measures now our ecosystems can, indeed, be restored. We must also remember to stay vigilant in protecting our waters to ensure healthy ecosystems for future generations. Photo Credit: Tina Walsh for Hudson River Park

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  • https://dailyapple.blogspot.com/2015/08/apple-716-cicadas.html

    The Cicadas Are Coming!

    If you were around in 2004, you probably remember the loud songs of the cicada emanating from most of the trees on your property. You probably had a cicada or two clinging to your clothes or swatted a few away as they haphazardly flew around. If you have never met a cicada, there’s nothing to worry about, just another wonder of nature to behold. These lumbering creatures do not sting or bite or cause disease. They burst forth from underground with all the confidence and energy of teenagers and must accomplish in a very short time what it takes us decades to do. The periodical cicada spends most of its life underground, emerging after 13 or 17 years (depending on the species) to transform, reproduce and ultimately die over the space of just a few days. Huge populations of these insects have synced up to emerge within the same window of time to give them the best chance of successfully finding a mate and producing young before they are eaten by predators or expire naturally. These populations are called broods, and one of the largest—Brood X—is set to emerge in late May or early June this year. Once the soil reaches about 64 degrees Fahrenheit at a depth of 12-18 inches, the emergence of the cicadas will be triggered. Male cicadas will emerge first, followed by females a few days later. Females can be identified by their pointed abdomen and sheathed ovipositor, the organ they use to lay eggs. Once they leave the ground, the cicadas will shed their shells and develop wings, allowing them to fly around and locate fresh hardwood trees and shrubs. After they’ve found their spot, the cicadas will mate and lay eggs at the end of branches. Newly hatched cicadas will then chew through the branch tips, causing them to fall off, carrying the nymphs (young insects) back down into the soil where they burrow 6- 18 inches down and will spend the next 17 years. Brood X will next emerge in 2038. Scientists are interested in determining if climate change has impacted the cicada. Will warmer temperatures cause them to arrive sooner than expected? Will there be as many of them as in years past? You can help to answer these questions by engaging in a little citizen science. Phone apps like Cicada Safari and iNaturalist, can be used to share your observations. The data collected will help to populate a map which can guide scientists in answering the questions posed above. Photo credit: Pixabay

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  • Native Wildflowers Columbine

    Five Native Plants to Consider Planting

    Did you know that for the first time ever April was designated National Native Plant Month by the United States Senate? Native plants play an indispensable role in supporting resilient ecosystems like stabilizing soil, filtering water, cleaning air and supporting wildlife. Once these plants become established, they require less watering and need no chemical fertilizers or pesticides to thrive. They also preserve the natural history of the flora and fauna of the American landscape. There are more than 17,000 native plant species across the US, which include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and wildflowers. Here on the North Shore of Long Island, we have many beautiful native species. Pictured here are five native wildflower and shrub options you might consider planting that are lovely to look at and help with pollination and the sustainability of our ecosystem. When buying, look for straight species (non-cultivars) locally sourced. winterberry (Ilex verticillata)New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

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