Archive for August 2015

For the Love of Nature

012How’s this for a paradox?  I am going to use my computer today to tell you about the many benefits of spending time outdoors in the natural world.  You likely already know this – you crave the sun on your face or the feel of soft earth underfoot.  Think of the joy in watching a child run after butterflies, or running after them yourself, and consider that this natural freedom and engagement is important to our overall well-being and humanity.

Henry David Thoreau experienced the healing powers of nature at Walden Pond, and John Burroughs at Slabsides.  Great thinkers from Aristotle to E. O. Wilson have used the term biophilia to describe what is in essence our deep love for life.  Cynics might point out that the environmental crisis suggests otherwise, but Wilson hypothesizes that there is an instinctive and inescapable bond between us and other living systems.  This is both biological and spiritual in nature, and it explains why we love our pets and our gardens and the notion of wilderness.  It explains why I keep getting pulled out my office door to find what bird is calling.  (I think we are seeing the first fall migrants on this cool morning.)

Just look at these happy faces on our preserve volunteers!


If you’ve had enough time at your screen and want to get outside, stop reading now and go for a hike at one of our many preserves in Pound Ridge (map).  To learn more about ways to engage yourself and your family in free-range discovery and other games and activities for life-long love of nature, you can attend our free workshop tomorrow at the Armstrong Preserve & Education Center (directions), from 2 to 4pm.   The public is invited to share ideas and to tour the outdoor classrooms on the Preserve on what looks to be a beautiful summer afternoon.  Please contact me for more information or visit our website at

August 9 Nature Education and Play.


New Bog Bridges at the Clark Preserve and 'Yin & Yang' Benches at the Armstrong Meadow

DSC_1114Early morning on Saturday, August 1st, a group of volunteers, PRLC staff and board members installed one hundred and forty feet of 3 board-wide bog bridge over a large area of wetlands and low-lying woodlands, adjacent to the 5-acre Clark meadow. Teams of two carried slabbed locust and cedar cross- ties locally culled from downed red cedar in PRLC preserves. Hikers will now enjoy dry access to this large area of wetlands. Of course, there is more to install next year… as we extend the boardwalk further into the wetlands for best habitat protection as well as into the adjacent wet meadow whose spring and summer flora need protection from our tromping feet.

Butterflies, nesting turtles, and grassland birds like the Northern harrier are dependent upon large clearings. Other birds such as swallows, blue birds and kestrels are drawn to a meadow’s expansive openness, which they use as feeding and nesting grounds. Thickets and shrubs at the meadow’s edge are home to birds such as the common yellow throat, eastern towhee and grey catbird. Meadows are usually bathed in full sunlight, which favors the growth of wildflowers, ferns, grasses, sedges, and rushes, which attract butterflies, moths, dragonflies, bees, flies and a whole host of other insects. Many other species benefit from the productivity of insects and pollen in meadows and include them in their wider territory.

Two new benches have been installed for viewing wildlife and flora at the Armstrong Meadow at the 43-acre Armstrong Preserve. Volunteers guided an 18 ft long locust trunk which had previously been milled into two halves toward the meadow from the spot where it had fallen across the Armstrong trail. Half was used by an eagle scout project this summer for a foot bridge on the preserve while the other half became PRLC’s meadow ‘yin & yang’ benches. Why this name, you’ll need to see them for yourself!