Spring Peepers

Preview the sound of spring peepers!

On Saturday, May 2nd, beginning at 7:30 pm, The Nature Place will lead intrepid explorers on a ‘hunt’ for spring peepers, tiny frogs we’ll locate using our keen ears, eyes, and still-hunting abilities.

Peep!

This event often involves some swampy wading, so a good pair of rubber boots is recommended. We also recommend you come wearing clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or wet, and bring a flashlight. No nets or other ‘hunting’ gear is required, all we’ll use are our ears, and if we’re lucky, our gentle hands to pick up a small spring peeper. Families working together (parents helping) children is a must for this event.

We’ll meet at the Green Meadow Waldorf School, 307 Hungry Hollow Road in Chestnut Ridge NY, 10977 at 7:30 pm, from where we’ll caravan together to our special spring peeper pond.

Please call 845-356-6477 with any questions. This event will put the spring in your step!

Open House

Join us for our open house on Sunday, April 12th, between 1 and 4 pm, on the grounds of the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977.

Come by to learn what puts the nature in The Nature Place, to ask questions about camp, and to find out what we do, and why.

Call 845-356-6477 for questions or directions.

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Outragehisss Pets and Open House

On Saturday, March 28th, The Nature Place hosts Outragehisss pets from Noon to 1 pm, in the Arts Building music room at Green Meadow Waldorf School – 307 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977.

Join us for a wild and woolly animal program, and stick around for our camp open house, between 1 and 4 pm.

See you then!

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Open House this Sunday, March 15th

Stop by The Nature Place any time between 1 and 4 pm this Sunday, March 15th to learn more about camp! After a rainy day Saturday we might even spot the first crocus of spring reaching toward Sunday’s sunshine from under the melting blanket of snow.

Open House this Sunday

Join us at our open house this Sunday, February 15th. Stop by any time between 1 and 4 pm to speak with us about camp, go on a tour (we’ll be sure to visit the warm garden greenhouse for a respite from the cold), and to learn more about The Nature Place Day Camp.

Hiking in Harriman last summer

Hiking in Harriman last summer

Upcoming Camp Fairs in NYC

Come see us at one of our camp fairs in Manhattan and Brooklyn this coming weekend, February 7th and 8th!

On Saturday we’ll be at the Bank Street School, 610 West 112th Street in Manhattan, between Noon and 3 pm.

Saturday you can also come see us in Brooklyn, at PS 321’s Summer Camp Expo, between 2 and 5 pm. The address is 180 7th Avenue, between 1st and 2nd Streets in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

On Sunday you can find us again in Brooklyn, this time in Cobble Hill at the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School, 9 Bergen Street, between Boerum Place and Court Street, between Noon and 3 pm.

 

 

 

Winter Tales with Chuck Stead

What is the Secret of Snow Plow Hill?

Join The Nature Place this Saturday, January 17th, from Noon – 1 pm, as we listen to Chuck Stead’s winter tales.

We’ll meet downstairs in the lower school music room of Green Meadow Waldorf School, 307 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge, NY, 10977.

Events, Open Houses, & Camp Fairs

Beginning after the new year we’ll be hosting public programs for campers and their families, and for anyone else interested in experiencing a ‘taste of camp’ before summer begins.

Winter Tales with Chuck Stead
Saturday, January 17th. Noon – 1 pm.

Chuck

Chuck

Chuck Stead is a master storyteller, weaving a web of characters and scenes from his childhood growing up in the nearby Ramapo Mountains. Populated by animals, spirits, mountain people, and more, Chuck’s tales are knee-slapping, laugh-out-loud funny, goose-bump inducing in their poignancy, and enjoyed thoroughly by children and adults alike.

Maple Sugaring
Saturday, February 28th. 10 – 11 am and 2 – 3 pm.

Sap sucker

Sap sucker

Join The Nature Place as we learn all about maple trees and maple syrup, tap our own trees and taste the sap, watch sap boiling over a fire, and then taste freshly made, hot maple syrup over ice (accompanied by a dill pickle, of course). Participants will take home their own spouts, along with instructions on how to tap maple trees and make syrup at home.

This year we’re offering this program twice, once at 10 am and then again at 2 pm. 

Outragehisss Pets
Saturday, March 28th. Noon – 1 pm.

Holding a python

Holding a python

If you like animals, then this program will have you barking, chirping, and roaring with glee. Every summer at camp Outragehisss Pets brings their multitude of animals to The Nature Place, and now you can get your hands furry without waiting until June. Join us for an hour of snakes, spiders, chinchillas, and an array of other surprising animals.

Spring Peeper Hunt
Saturday, May 2nd. 7:30 – 9 pm.

Peep!

Peep!

As darkness falls The Nature Place will lead intrepid explorers into the swamp in search of spring peepers – tiny frogs with big voices pealing out into the warm spring air. Using our ears and echo-locating abilities, and equipped with boots, flashlights, and a sense of adventure, we’ll search for spring peepers by following the loud ‘peep!’ of their mating call through the hillocks and brambles of a nearby wetland. Come prepared to have fun and get a little dirty!

 

Open Houses

The best way to learn more about The Nature Place is by coming to an open house. We’ll take you on a tour of camp, give you a full picture of what we do and why we do it, and answer your questions about the ins and outs of camp.

Open Houses are located at Green Meadow Waldorf School, 307 Hungry Hollow Road in Chestnut Ridge, NY, and you can stop by any time between 1 and 4 pm.

Saturday, January 17th
Sunday, February 15th
Saturday, February 28th (this open house runs from 11 am – 2 pm)
Sunday, March 15th
Saturday, March 28th
Sunday, April 12th
Sunday, April 26th
Saturday, May 9th
Sunday, May 24th

 

Camp Fairs

Do you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn and want to find out more about The Nature Place? Come meet us at a camp fair, ask us questions about camp in person, and get a feeling for what we do. All camp fairs run from Noon until 3 pm.

Saturday, December 6th
Upper East Side – St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 75th Street

Sunday, December 7th
Upper West Side – Ethical Culture Fieldston School
33 Central Park West

Saturday, January 24th
Upper East Side – St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 75th Street

Sunday, January 25th
Upper West Side – Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd Street

Saturday, February 7th
Morningside Heights – Bank Street School
610 West 112th Street

Sunday, February 8th
Cobble Hill – Brooklyn Heights Montessori School
185 Court Street

Saturday, March 7th
Tribeca – Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street

Saturday, March 8th
Park Slope – Berkeley Carroll School
181 Lincoln Place

Saturday, March 28th
Upper East Side – St. Jean Baptiste High School
173 East 73rd Street

Sunday, March 29th
Upper West Side – Congregation Rodeph Sholom
7 West 83rd Street

Cider Pressing Program & Open House

During this fall season our events are all about pressing apples into cider. We made some delicious cider recently at the Hungry Hollow Co-op’s Farmer’s Festival and Green Meadow’s Fall Fair, and will be making our best batch yet (we hope!) at our upcoming pressing program at camp.

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Wild and Edible Milkweed

Milkweed

Milkweed

One of the things I love most about this month is the appearance of Milkweed plants. These miracles of nature contribute so much to our world that they deserve far more respect than we give them. They are the major food source for the Monarch butterfly. Millions of these majestic little creatures migrate every year between the USA and Mexico. However, so many of the milkweed plants have been killed off in recent years that it has seriously diminished the Monarch population.

Monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant

Monarch butterfly on a milkweed plant

For this reason, I am very cautious about harvesting milkweed as food. In May, I harvest the shoots, knowing that the plant will reestablish itself, so long as I leave the root intact. Even then, I am careful not to pick too many. The cooked shoots (with the leaves removed) taste a lot like asparagus. The leaves too can be cooked and eaten, much like spinach.

Milkweed shoot noodles

Milkweed shoot noodles

The next parts of the plant that are edible are the flower buds. Each plant has several clusters of flowers, but I’ll rarely remove more than one bunch from a plant, to ensure there’s enough for it to reproduce. The unopened blossoms can be cooked and used in place of peas or capers, or used to decorate dishes. Once opened, the flowers make a nice addition to salads and soups or a garnish.

Sauteed milkweed pods

Sauteed milkweed pods

Once the flowers have gone, they leave behind seed pods, which are crunchy and delicious. However, after a couple of weeks, they become tough and inedible. I only gather pods when there are a lot of them, as this is the most important part to protect. Once they have ripened and the seeds turn brown, the pods split and allow the seeds to escape on the wind. That is a good time to gather them, if you want to start growing your own plants.

Milkweed pods

Milkweed pods

The silky parachutes that carry the seeds, provide a very effective tinder for starting a flame, using flint and steel or a bow drill. The stem of the older plants can be stripped of its outer layer, which can be twisted into twine, and used to make the bow. So, from the time it first appears, until the plant dies off, it can be used in a number of ways, not to mention that the sap is very effective for removing warts.

 

Paul Tappenden is the Rockland Forager. He leads identification walks once a month in our area. See regularly updated blogs, videos, events, and what he and other foragers, herbalists, and naturalists are up to at www.suburbanforagers.com.