• 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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