Back-to-school season is here and, with it, so is stress. Vacations are over, and so is a fun schedule; the kids return to school and face brand new challenges; even rush hour is busier… The good news is, simply being in nature has a documented calming effect on people of all ages. Even doctors are prescribing it!
Sheldrake Environmental Center is located adjacent to the Larchmont Reservoir Conservancy, a 60-acre oasis of land and water which provides a sanctuary for wildlife and people. As birdwatchers, hikers, families and friends stroll or hike through the bucolic landscape, they savor the delights of nature by watching the river flow, capturing the smell of the plentiful flora, feeling the warmth of the sun on their faces. These experiences can alleviate the stress they accumulate. What better way is there to ease tension?
At Sheldrake and the Conservancy, children can participate in nature classes and camps starting September 20. They’ll get to play games under the shade of a tree, find frogs at the edge of the pond, listen to stories on the banks of the stream, roll over logs to learn how animals recycle. Children’s programs are jam-packed with adventure, discovery and fun and are designed for a variety of ages: Tiny Trekkers (ages 3-5 with caregiver), Young Explorers (ages 4-5), Eco-crafting (kindergarteners) and Holiday and Vacation Camps (ages 4-6). For those children who want to take a different approach to getting close to nature, there is Yoga for Kids (kindergarteners-3rd graders), which will teach them some basic yoga postures in a relaxed way, while having them enjoy the outdoors and appreciate their surroundings.
What about the adults? Thanks to Con Edison’s generous support of Sheldrake’s Environmental Education programs, they can connect with nature too with Sheldrake. Starting October 18, by participating in the Volunteer Environmental Educator Training Program, they’ll get outside, improve their physical and mental health, and, all along, gain the skills to teach school children about the natural world. For those who prefer working with their peers, there’s the Master Composter & Recycler Program, a train-the-trainer course that inspires to teach other adults and make choices which have a positive impact on the environment. This course begins Monday, September 24.
Sheldrake hasn’t forgotten about the importance of spending time with family. On Saturday, September 22, the whole family can participate in the International Coastal Cleanup and be part of a worldwide effort, by helping clean up the Conservancy, as well as Manor Beach and the Hommocks Conservation Area. On October 14, Sheldrake’s Fall Festival is back with live animals, live music, arts and crafts, face painting, pumpkin painting, naturalist-led activities and more for everyone to enjoy.
The presence of nature can soften the blow of stress throughout our lives. Sheldrake offers plenty of opportunities for individuals and families to spend time in nature. This back-to-school season, making more trips to Sheldrake could mean making fewer trips to the doctor’s office. Now, how’s that for relief!
Sheldrake Environmental Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire environmental awareness and action in the community, and to preserve, protect and enhance local environmental resources. The center is located at 685 Weaver Street in Larchmont, NY. More information on Sheldrake and its programs can be obtained by visiting www.sheldrakecenter.org, or by contacting Amy at (914)834-1443 or at email@example.com.