Connect To Nature
Hunting for and netting insects can be a
Spending time outdoors in natural areas--whether a city park or a mountain top--reminds us that we are both part of nature and stewards of the environment. Connections to nature refresh and sustain us. Helping children experience and learn about the natural worlds builds the next generation of New Yorkers who care about conservation.
Enjoy the Outdoors and Learn at Same Time
- Sign up for DEC Outdoor Discovery
A monthly electronic newsletter, where you will find valuable information to help you explore the outdoors and the recreational opportunities available in all areas of New York State.
- Send a child to a DEC Environmental Education Camp
The DEC runs four environmental education camps across the state. The week-long overnight camps are open to children ages 12-17. Organizations, as well as parents can sponsor a child for a week at camp. Make sure to visit the camps website for more information on this great opportunity to connect children to nature.
Children canoeing at camp
- Visit the best wildlife viewing areas
Want to know the best spots to view migrating waterfowl, hawks and eagles? How about a visit to one of the premier birding sites in the Northeast? Check out Watchable Wildlife with information on sites, species and wildlife viewing tips to make your experience more enjoyable.
- Hit the trail
Take your pick from over 3500 miles of non-motorized use trails administered by DEC. Hikers, mountain bikers and cross-country skiers can find a great outdoor experience for every skill level.
- Subscribe to Conservationist magazine
Published six times a year, the Conservationist is New York's source for expert articles on the latest environmental issues, fun outdoor activities, and stunning photography. Check out the current issue on-line and the great deal on our web subscription special.
Be a Good (Nature) Neighbor
- Don't feed the bears...
Or the geese, or the deer, or the birds (in the spring and summer). Feeding wildlife when there is abundant natural food creates a dependence on unnatural food sources and associates people with food. Both are dangerous and potentially harmful to wildlife. Use native plantings as a source of food if you want to attract a variety of animals and birds.
- Carry it in, carry it out
When visiting natural areas, take home your trash so that the woods, meadow or beach stay pristine for those following in your footsteps, whether human or wild. Reduce what you carry in and bring re-usable picnic supplies: dishes, cups and utensils.
- Build small campfires only when and where allowed
Practice fire safety when outdoors. Use existing campfire rings if possible. Build fires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, stumps, logs, dry grass and leaves. Scrape away litter, duff, and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter. Don't leave a fire unattended. To extinguish a campfire, drown it, stir and repeat. Be certain it's completely out before you leave.