April 7, 2010
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
- Long Island
- Hudson Valley - Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education 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
If you ask someone what they can do to help the environment, chances are they will say "plant a tree." Tree planting is a common activity at Earth Day events and environmental fairs-and for good reason. In addition to being pretty, trees are extremely valuable to people and the Earth.
Trees produce oxygen-Trees turn carbon dioxide into the oxygen that we breathe.
Trees clean the soil-Trees absorb and trap chemicals and other pollutants in the soil.
Trees control noise pollution-Trees muffle city and highway noise.
Trees provide homes for a variety of species-Both standing and dead trees serve as habitat for mammals, birds, reptiles, rodents and insects.
Trees clean the air-Trees absorb pollutants in the air.
Trees shade and cool-Trees planted in the right spot can mean that you don't have use your air conditioner as often in the summer.
Trees give shelter from wind and rain-Trees can act as wind breaks, particularly with winter winds, lowering the cost of heating your home.
Trees prevent soil loss-Tree roots bind the soil so that it can't erode away in heavy rains or flooding. Leaves lessen the impact of wind and rain on the soil.
Most trees can outlive us-some were even around when the Declaration of Independence was signed! However, we have to work to protect trees from disease and insects like the Asian long-horned beetle and the emerald ash borer. These insects kill specific types of trees, such as ash and maple, and can be easily spread by people moving firewood from one location to another. So when you are planning your next camping trip, remember to buy your firewood when you get there! Please call 1-866-640-0652 for more information.
Send us an e-mail and tell us what you think about Outdoor Discovery.
Looking for an adventure this summer for your teenager? Check out DEC's Environmental Education Camps.
Subscribe to Conservationist magazine-New York's award-winning publication with astonishingly beautiful photography and captivating articles.
Make Your Own Paper
It takes about 20,000 trees to make one edition of a big-city newspaper. You can recycle some newspaper and create beautiful one-of-a-kind paper for your next letter or project. You will need newspaper, a blender, water, a bucket, a deep square pan, a piece of window screen cut to fit into the pan, a rolling pin, a measuring cup, kitchen towels and some vegetable scraps.
Tear the newspaper into tiny pieces and soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes. Take a handful and work with an adult to mix it in the blender until it is mushy. Add a few vegetable scraps to bring some color to your paper (carrot peel for orange, cucumber for green, etc). You can add texture to your paper by adding some leaves. Mix again, and pour the pulp into a measuring cup. Put the screen into the pan, and pour about an inch of water over it, adding one cup of paper pulp on top. Spread out the mixture with your fingers. Lift the screen and let the water drain off of it. Lay the screen with the pulp side down on a towel. Lift away the screen and use another towel to cover the paper. Use a rolling pin to flatten it and get rid of any extra moisture. Let the paper dry for a day, and your creation will be ready to use.
A Tree Story
New York is home to hundreds of species of trees, and each one tells a different story. Their leaves and bark are different from other trees. They grow to different heights and sizes. Different animals and birds prefer different types of trees. You can use the online tree identification Arbor Day Foundation website.
Learn about the trees in your yard or a nearby park by creating your own tree story. For each book, you will need two pieces of white paper and a piece of colored construction paper. Fold each piece of paper in half, and place the white sheets inside the construction paper like a book. Staple your book along the spine. Find a tree that you like, and draw or take a picture of it. Ask an adult to help you research the name of the tree. Hold the first page of the book against the bark, and rub a crayon over the page to make a pattern. Pick a leaf or flower from the tree, and glue it to one of the pages. In the fall, you can come back to your tree and add a colorful leaf to your book. Try to find a small twig that fell to the ground, and add that to another page in the book. Write a description of animals, birds or insects you observe near or in the tree. Tell a little story about what you like about the tree.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Spring Fishing Festival
Saturday, April 10 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Belmont Lake State Park
Kick-off the spring season with a day of fishing for the whole family! NYS DEC also stocks Belmont Lake with over 1,000 trout for the event. Loaner rods and free bait are available at this event! Cost: $6 parking fee; free with Empire Passport. Call 631-444-0280 for directions.
Nature Discovery After-School Program
Thursday, April 8 and 15 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM
As spring arrives in the northern hemisphere, the days grow longer, and each brings something new. Buds begin to open, and leaves unfurl, migratory birds return, and animal babies show their faces to the world. For school-aged children and their caregivers.
Guided Nature Walk
Saturday, April 10 and 17 at 10:00 AM
The ice and snow has melted, the buds are beginning to swell, and hibernating animals are waking up and on the move. Can we find any of them?
Saturday, April 10 at 2:00 PM
Enjoy some delicious farm-fresh eggs as we learn about the importance of this egg-cellent natural wonder. Feel free to bring your favorite egg recipe to swap at the end. This program will meet in the Learning Center.
Leave It to Beaver
Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 PM
Get a close-up look at how these wild engineers transform their environment. We will see an active beaver lodge and dam and look for cuttings and other beaver signs. Hiking shoes or boots are suggested.
Thursday, April 8 at 10:00 AM
Birds are staking out their territories, connecting with mates and beginning to build their nests. This program will help families identify the birds in their yards, share information on their habits and present a craft that will attract birds.
Saturday, April 10 at 10:00 AM
We will explore habitats and habits of local salamanders. We'll start indoors discussing some of the salamanders of our area and then go for a walk to look for them.
Saturday, April 10 at 2:00 PM
Five Rivers has many beautiful wetland areas. On our walk, we will explore some of these and learn who lives under the water and in the mud.
Gardening for Wildlife
Saturday, April 17 at 10:00 AM
Want to attract songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies? Use plants! Tour Five Rivers' wildlife garden, and learn how to attract native wildlife to a "green" garden.
Pussy Willow Hunt
Saturday, April 17 at 2:00 PM
Join the hunt for the elusive pussy willow, as we search Five Rivers' trails for this soft and furry sign of spring.
Wild, Wacky Woodcock Watch
Friday, April 9 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
The woodcock is a chunky little bird with a short neck, long bill and big eyes set high in a large head. During the mating season in early spring, male woodcocks perform amazing flight displays at dusk. Remember to bring your binoculars for this field trip! Call 518-456-0655 to register. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Adirondack Park Agency Newcomb Visitors Center
Saturday, April 17 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
As we walk along one of our trails, families will discover the diversity of a forest habitat. Look birds, insects, nests, woodland wildflowers, forest floor plants and much more.
Adirondack Park Agency Paul Smiths Visitors Center
Saturday, April 10 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Tours of the sugarbush and sugarhouse will be given and the kids can make sugar on snow and many other traditional maple activities. Please dress for the weather. Call 518-327-3000 to register.
Saturday, April 10 at 7:30 PM
Search along the trails at Rogers Center for nocturnal birds of prey. It will be a hoot! Dress warmly and bring a flashlight.
Quest for Vernal Pools
Saturday, April 17 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Discover a secret hideaway for some interesting water creatures. Without any predatory fish, these temporary small water areas are a safe haven for adult amphibians and invertebrates to reproduce and for their babies to grow. Please call to register.
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
After School Escape
Thursdays, April 8 and 15 at 4:30 PM
Enjoy a one-hour program for kids featuring a different, fun, outdoor activity each week. For children in grades K-5. No registration is required.
Friday, April 9 at 7:30 PM
Learn about our local owls, and listen for their calls on a walk in the woods. For adults and children age 8 and older.
Saturday, April 10 at 10:30 AM
Explore the diversity and richness of mature forests on this guided walk. For adults and children age 8 and older.
Earth Day Celebration
Saturday, April 17 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
An eco-friendly event for the whole family. Make crafts out of recycled materials, learn ways to save energy and register to win Earth-friendly door prizes! You also can enjoy a guided nature walk. Friends of Reinstein Nature Preserve will sell lunch items. Registration is not required for this event.
CSI: Critter Sign Investigation
Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 AM
Become a nature detective and look for "clues" left by wildlife along the trails. For children ages 6-10.