March 11, 2009
- New York's Wild Side
- More Photos of New York's Wildlife
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center and Tivoli Bays Visitors Center
- Capital District - Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
- Adirondacks - Adirondack Park Agency Visitors Interpretive Centers at Newcomb and Paul Smiths
- Central New York - Rogers Environmental Education Center
- Western New York - Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center
When many people think of New York State, images of skyscrapers, busy neighborhoods and highways come to mind. But most probably don't know that less than six percent of the land in New York is taken up by houses and commercial buildings! One-quarter of the land is farmland, while a vast majority is forest (nearly 63 percent at last count). And that doesn't even include the lakes, wetlands and streams.
New York has a much wilder side-millions of acres of land, numerous habitats and a wide variety of plant and animal life. A habitat is the place where an animal or plant lives, such as a forest, wetland or stream. Some animals can only live in one type of habitat, while others can survive in a variety of environments. Many urban areas have public parks that provide habitats for plants and wildlife. Some wildlife, like peregrine falcons, have adapted to living in the cities.
New York State has other habitats, such as pine barrens, evergreen forests and the sand dunes of the Great Lakes. This rich environment means that several threatened or endangered species call New York home, including humpback whales, Karner blue butterflies, golden eagles and bog turtles. The more we learn about New York's diverse habitats, the more we appreciate it-so get outside and take a walk on the wild side.
Send us an e-mail and tell us what you think about Outdoor Discovery.
Tree of Life
The trees in your backyard, city parks and forests are all habitats to a variety of animals. To get a better look at the animals that call a tree home, find an old paper towel or toilet paper tube to turn into a telescope. Decorate the outside with whatever materials you want: tissue paper, paint, glitter. Head outside with your telescope and look at a tree through one end of the tube. Look for signs or clues such as chewed leaves, holes in the bark, and seeds or nuts on the ground near the tree. What animals do you think call the tree home? Don't forget to get a close look at the bark for signs of insects, and the tree trunk for moss or lichens. Start a nature journal to keep track of what you see. Keep your nature journal handy to use for other Outdoor Discovery activities.
Feathering the Nest
Spring is just around the corner and birds will soon be laying eggs. Help them "feather" their nests to make a cozy home for the baby birds. Next time you clean out your hairbrush, weave the hair into the branches of a tree. Pull apart some cotton balls or dryer lint and hook them onto tree branches as well. If you have scraps of yarn, drape them over a bush, or loosely weave them through a mesh bag (like the kind used for oranges) and hang the bag from a tree. It won't be long before the birds take advantage of your generosity and use these to "feather" their nests.
Check out Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Upcoming DEC Events
Winter Wildlife Tracks and Traces
Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 PM
Find out which animals are active in the winter and hunt for evidence of their presence. We'll make our own tracks with snowshoes (available for loan). Call 845-831-8780, ext. 300 to register.
Spring is Here!
Saturday, March 21 at 2:00 PM
It's official! Come along on a leisurely ramble along Stony Kill's wooded trails to look for the first signs of spring, on the day after the vernal equinox.
Tivoli Bays Visitors Center
Things that Go Bump in the Night!
Wednesday, March 18 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM
While we sleep some animals come out to creep! Find out how these animals thrive in the moonlight. Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult.
Outdoors After School
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM every Thursday February 26 to June 18
A nature walk for grade-school children and their caregivers. Each week will feature a different theme and habitat.
Is It Spring?
Friday, March 20 at 7:00 PM
Join us on an outdoor search for geese, peepers, woodcock and other sounds of a spring evening.
I Love Trees: Family Forest Fun
Saturdays, March 21, 28, April 4 at 10:00 AM
A series of family programs on trees, with outdoor participatory games and activities.
Maple Sugaring Open Houses
Saturday and Sunday, March 21 and 22 from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM
Watch sap drip from the tapped trees, and smell the syrup boiling in the evaporator. Learn to twirl a drill and pound a spile. Groups must call 518-475-0291 to register.
Call 518-456-0655 to preregister for all events. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Discover the Pine Bush
Sunday, March 15 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Discover the Albany Pine Bush, the best example of an inland pine barrens left in the world.
Friday, March 20 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Did you ever hear a coyote howl? Do you wonder where they are going or what they might be doing?
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
From Medicine to Mothballs
Saturday, March 21 from 11:00 AM to Noon
Plants are amazing things. Without plants, people would not be here. Come discover some of the things we get from plants today. Call 518-582-2000 to register.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Advance registration is required. Call 518-327-3000.
Tracking on the Trails
Saturday, March 14 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Join guest naturalist Peter O'Shea on this walk/snowshoe to discover the tracks that are visible along the trails. Snowshoes are provided.
Bluebird Nestbox Workshop
Saturday, March 21 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Build a nestbox to take home. Cost: $7.50 per box.
Central New York
Search for the Pot O'Gold
Saturday, March 14 from 10:00 AM to Noon
Search along several marked trails using a GPS, map and compass, or rebus. Call 607-674-4017 to register.
Children's Program: Tales of Trout " Other Fish
Saturday, March 21 at 11:00 AM
Learn about trout and other fish through games, observations and crafts. Play a game, make a trout and enjoy a visit by a "bigger-than-life" brook trout.
Signs of Spring Walk
Saturdays during the spring at 1:30 PM
Look for plants coming out of winter dormancy, migratory birds returning to the area, and other signs of spring.
Western New York
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Stories in the Woods
Tuesday, March 17 at 10:30 AM
Listen to a nature story and then take a short walk in the woods. For children ages 3-5 and their caregivers.
Spring Equinox Walk
Friday, March 20 at 7:00 PM
Take a walk on the first night of spring, the day when we will have equal hours of dark and light.
Saturday, March 21 at 10:00 AM
Join us as we look for migrating ducks, geese and salamanders on this guided walk. For adults and children age 10 and older.