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MAIN Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to New York Weekend AdventuresWeekend Adventures with James & Mom

Weekend Adventures with James & Mom .... featuring New York area weekend trips with James and his Mom as they search for fun, excitement and learning adventures! ....


Nature, Exploring & Learning - At the Westmoreland Sanctuary

poison ivy
Identifying poison ivy.
Leaves of three, let it be!

What James Says : Spring is when all the trees in our area start to bloom. One of these trees is the Dogwood tree. Did you know that this very pretty tree got its name because when it is fresh cut the wood smells like dog poo? Yeah, me either, but it is kind of funny though.

Did you know that poison ivy is contagious even if it is not red and shiny? It is only red and shiny in the spring, green in the summer and different shades of red, yellow and orange in the fall, but still very catchy the entire year. It grows on a hairy vine (little rootlets hang from the vine) with leaves in clumps of three. They say to remember "leaves of three, let it be". I think it's a good thing to know.

oyster shell mushroomHow about that oyster shell mushroom you see sometimes growing on trees, do you know why it's there? It helps to break down the wood into soil. SO if you have a tree with mushrooms growing on it, its probably dead or dying. I learned this when we went to the Westmoreland Sanctuary.

We went on a map skills hike through the sanctuary. We learned how to read a topographical map and use a real compass. Then we went out and had to find our way back using what we learned. This was a group outing and a lot of fun.

James learning to read a compass.Westmoreland has all kinds of activities going on all the time. Besides just going there to hike on the trails, you can register for activities like a guided night hike where you explore for nocturnal creatures, very cool, or a pond study at Bechtel Lake, you use a net to see what you can find in the pond. You get dirty, but it's fun.

The Audubon Society, and the Bedford Audubon Society sponsor bird watching "Birdathons", and other animal adventures in the sanctuary. There is a small museum with a curiosity table, where you can touch stuff native to the area. There are some displays of stuffed, real animals from the region and topographical maps and stuff. There are also some live reptiles and animals like bunnies, turtles and a bearded dragon named Sam. It's a great place to go and investigate, a lot of fun.

What Mom Says: Westmoreland Sanctuary is located at 260 Chestnut Ridge Rd., Bedford Corners, NY, 10549, Tel. 914-234-2934.

violetsIt is a beautiful, 625 acre nature preserve in Westchester County with about 8 miles of marked trails. It is open to the public seven days a week, year-round, from dawn to dusk. The museum is open 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, 10:30am to 5:00pm on Sunday.

We went as part of a prearranged group outing. This activity was good for ages 6 and up, since kids have to be able to read and follow a compass. Westmoreland Sanctuary has many scheduled activities throughout the year. If you are interested in an activity it is best to call ahead and reserve a space. There are membership discounts for scheduled activities and most fees are a suggested donation - and tax deductible.

Wear sturdy shoes and bug spray, bring the camera, binoculars and bottled water. The experience is great for all ages, even the toddlers who get dirty and love every minute of it. In all, a great fresh air experience for the whole family, but be prepared for lots of walking. You can bring food in, but be prepared to carry out everything you bring in, including your exhausted babies (some portions of trails are not stroller friendly).

Enjoy the beauty!

About the authors: James is the oldest of 4 kids. Mom is their Mother, a children's writer, educator & photographer. They live in New York with their Dad and pet dogs, cats, geckos, and turtles.

 

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