Open House

Our next open house is Sunday, May 19th, from 1-4pm. Stop by to take a tour, ask questions, and learn more about camp!

Ed’s Corner

You can go home again (after rounding 3rd base)…

My youngest son, Nathaniel, age 9, just joined the rookie league of our town’s Little League program. I think having an older brother Rhys who loves the game accounts for Nathaniel’s baseball leanings. Besides games of catch, I know I wasn’t the catalyst. Honestly, I don’t know who won the last World Series. So we signed him up, got the necessary gear, he was given a uniform and the coolest hat – with a rattle snake on it because of the team’s name, the Diamondbacks. The ‘Garter Snakes’ would, I’m sure, not carry the intended impact. Nor would my suggestion that Nathaniel play some non-competitive baseball (?) with his friends.

Looking for home

Two nights ago the team had its first practice at our local field, located next to a busy railroad line, with all the tootings and screechings and clangings you can imagine. A busy road, treacherous to cross, intersects the tracks right there, horns, brakes and exhaust are common. Litter is strewn along the banks of the railroad tracks where a walking path runs alongside, and the small stream below the pedestrian bridge is also blanketed with litter. Very busy Route 59 is within easy earshot of the playing field, so you never lack for car and truck noise, and completing the scene is a bus station and big parking lot.

But despite all this, the two playing fields were green, fresh, and on this evening had eight children of varying abilities, running, laughing, catching, batting, having fun.         

The garter snakes?

So here I was, sitting in the bleachers, getting darker and colder, telling myself that I will get into this baseball thing, when I see something big glide to the top of a tall light pole, a red-tailed hawk. Then after 5 minutes, without a sound, the hawk flew toward third base to the top of another pole and hung around for a while longer. Perhaps scouting out a future meal in the form of some of the youngest, smaller players?! It felt that this bird of prey felt very comfortable here.

And then, just above the playing field, flew, with almost slow motion wing flaps, a blue heron, neck back in typical ‘S’ position, legs extended out and back, taking its time as players and coaches below were intent with the action on-field, unaware of what was flying silently 25 feet above the field. It landed in a by-then darkened area outside the fence, almost straight outward from second base.

I guess home plate on the field feels more home to me now. In quite a few ways.

It’s not easy being green

… so sings Kermit the frog. Plants would have a different tune: they love being green, most of them are green (at least their leaves!), they esteem green, expect to be green, help the earth tremendously by being green, are able to capture the sun’s energy with their green, and would not consider being anything else.

And this is the time of year when the greens are making the scene – spring is here, buds are opening, shoots are emerging from the ground, it’s all beginning to feel like a good, green world. So here’s a suggestion for a little outdoor journey to explore the different shades of green.

Visit one of the big home stores (i.e. Home Depot, Lowes) and get a few of the shades-of-green paint charts – they are free. Then with paint chart(s) in hand go outdoors searching high and low, little and big, for the shades of green in nature that might match up with those in your green color guide or chart.

A few shades of green

Events & Open Houses

Here’s what’s happening at The Nature Place! Informative open houses and camp fairs, and fun and free events for the whole family:

Open Houses
Our open houses are the best way to learn about The Nature Place Day Camp & Farm and Garden Days. We’ll take you on a tour of our camp grounds, watch a slide show of images from summers past, and answer any and all questions about enrollment, programming, safety, transportation, staff, etc.

All open houses run from 1-4pm, and take place at Green Meadow Waldorf School (307 Hungry Hollow Road, Chestnut Ridge NY 10977)

Sunday, May 19th
Saturday, June 1st

Our events are fun, free, hands-on public programs for the whole family, and usually precede an open house. Geared towards prospective families and current campers alike, a Nature Place event is a great way to experience first-hand what we do.

Garden Party

Saturday, June 1st, 11am-Noon

Let’s have a party in the garden! The Nature Place will provide refreshments, but we’ll need willing workers, tasters, planters, weeders, and anyone with a green thumb (or maybe a thumb that just yearns to be green).

Partying in the garden

This event will be followed by an open house, from 1-4pm.

What Color is the Wind

Ed’s book, What Color is the Wind?,  just got picked up by Acorn Naturalists, in our estimation the largest and most reputable supplier of all things outdoor-education related. Beyond this exciting development, they provided a great review:

“This combination field guide and journal is absolutely packed with creative ideas for enjoying nature with children ages 6-14. Distills the author’s 40 years of experience as a mentor naturalist/educator into seasonal activities geared toward encouraging a sense of wonder. Offers a refreshing, truly hands-on approach to getting children to connect with the natural world. Filled with ideas and tips for parents, naturalists, outdoor educators and camp leaders alike.”  

If you don’t have one already, you can get your copy of What Color is the Wind? by visiting You can also ‘like’ Ed’s book on Facebook, by visiting What Color is the Wind?‘s Facebook page.


A special event to celebrate Earth Day

Don’t you love to say “That’s music to my ears”? It means you’ve just heard something really pleasing.

At EarthSong afternoon, you’ll find yourself saying “That’s a forest to my ears” or “That’s a stream to my ears” as you stroll the grounds of Threefold Educational Center, drinking in original music composed to fit the mood or spirit of various spots around our campus: the living and non-living things to be found there; their connections; the shapes, patterns and textures of that piece of the planet; movements; cycles, the place at that moment or through the four seasons.

Join us for this festive day-before-Earth-Day honoring of the earth and the arts. This event is a collaboration between The Nature Place and Threefold Educational Center.