By Bonnie Robins - Director, Access Nature Program
Naturalist Jim Nordgren with SPARC of White Plains
Having shut down our in person outdoor programing this summer, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were excited to initiate a mitigated reopening. We decided to start with a « soft opening » of just a few programs. Strict protocols were put in place for the safety of all. Groups were limited to 10 participants, masks were required and social distancing a must. Transportation was provided by their organizations or the participants families. Following the outdoor nature walk, we hosted a bring your own lunch social distance picnic.
Needless to say, the organizations we partner with, were excited to rejoin our outdoor experience. Some, were not yet meeting though. One had to cancel due to a positive Covid case. And, one had to cancel due to lack of response. So, it was challenging to say the least.
We were happy to host two wonderful outdoor nature programs for SPARC of White Plains and Community Based Services of North Salem, both in Westchester County, New York. The SPARC program enjoyed a beautiful fall day at Rockerfeller Park and the CBS group was at Mt. lakes Camp, with professional naturalistis. Both groups of autistic and mentally challenged adults had a great time gaining the benefits that Nature affords.
As always, our emphasis remains with the value and benefits of nature. And, we continue to encourage our participants to avail themselves of these benefits on a regular basis.
This winter we will focus on creating a workshop to teach other outdoor organizations how to organize Access Nature programs in their communities. We look forward to a more robust opening of programing in Spring of 2021.
Jun 21, 2020
Access Nature gives soothing respite during Covid-19
By Bonnie Robins - Director, Access Nature of Lewisboro Land Trust.
Chris Evers, Animal Embassy & sunshine club member
This Spring the Covid-19 Pandemic, put a halt to the Access Nature Outdoor Programs. Like all group activities, the outdoor programs for our partner organizations had to be put on hold.
The organizations we work with, which mainly serve adults with development disabilities, intellectual challenges, and mental illness, report that for the most part their clients are bearing up well. However, the loss of their group programs has put a strain on the supports they provide for their members. Feelings of isolation can present difficulties. Many are providing zoom meetings, and digital programing to bridge the gap for their clients.
After consulting with our partner organizations, Access Nature engaged our naturalists to provide some digital nature program for the enjoyment and education of the persons we serve. Please see the link below to one of our digital nature programs for your viewing pleasure.
As the communities we work in are beginning to reopen we are working with our clients and their organizations to delevelop safe and enjoyable outdoor nature programs once again. Protocols for social distancing and safety measures are being developed. It is out hope to resume live outdoor Programing sometime this summer.
Your support for our ongoing work, bringing the benefits of nature to those most in need, is greatly appreciated.
By Deanna Novak - Coordinator Access Nature, Lewisboro Land Trust
Genesis, Award Recipient
The Access Nature division of the Lewisboro Land Trust, is proud to introduce 10 year old Genesis Loja as the first recipient of the Next Generation Naturalist Ambassador Award.
We first met fifth grader Genesis, at an Autumn Access Nature program at Croton Point Nature Center. She was passionate about sharing her knowledge of the history of Bald Eagles coming back from near extinction. She volunteered to share what she learned from her teacher Ms. Albero at Roosevelt Elementary School in Ossining. As naturalist John Philips, guided us through the life and history of the Hudson, her Scientific curiosity and questions helped to engage other families attending from the Community Center of Northern Westchester. She even translated what was said into Spanish so others could understand.
At Access Nature we believe people with disabilities and the underserved can have the same access to nature preserves and environmental education as the general public. By creating a positive educational nature program we empower individuals and families to experience the benefits nature has to offer. Spending regular time in nature is a lifetime tool we can all enjoy.
"The biggest connection I saw, was our families discovering the fact that many of Westchester's parks are free and open to the families to explore. I believe that Lewisboro Land Trust really opened the door to utilizing parks and preserves for our families, for the first time, for many who participated that day. A key piece of information that will be a lifelong benefit to all....We can not thank the Lewisboro Land Turst enought for hosting this event as it was not only fun, by also educational for our families."
Celeste Potash, Program Manager, Community Center of Northern Westchester (a warm and caring place dedicated to helping neighbors in need)
(The names shown in this report were with the permission of the individuals)