Larchmont's Sheldrake Nature Center Expands Winter Programming

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A Sheldrake naturalist leads one of the nature walks. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Joyce Kent
Children enjoy the sights at Sheldrake. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Town of Mamaroneck
A squirrel pops out to say hello to a passing group. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Anthony Waring

LARCHMONT, N.Y. -- Plummeting temperatures can dissuade anyone from spending time outside this winter, but Larchmont's Sheldrake Environment Center hopes to change that with its new programming.

The center will be holding its first guided, "family style," winter nature walk this Saturday, Dec. 7.

While the center normally only holds guided walks for adults, this time around you can bring the whole family.

Amy Bisignani, manager of the center, said the center is increasing its winter programming to get adults and children alike out and about.

"People might not think it, but there is a lot going on in nature in wintertime. There's so much to learn," she said, "We want to show people what's going on outside, and that they should take advantage of it - instead of sitting indoors and doing nothing. It's good to get exercise."

Bisignani said the center opened the program to families to encourage togetherness.

"We're trying to do the family thing because during this time of year, people are busy shopping and preparing. They don't have time to spend together," she said, "We hope they can come here and get some quality time."

Jenny Geer is the community programs director and a naturalist at the center. She also leads the tours, and expanded on some of the sights to be seen this time of year.

"When winter starts and people retreat indoors to spend the next few months as couch potatoes, nature doesn't stop, and it's fun to spend some time outdoors exploring," she said.

According to Geer, many animals burrow underground (chipmunks, groundhogs, worms), but many others remain active, like squirrels, birds and deer.  Insects find places to overwinter, like under leaves, logs, tree bark, and even on leaves in the form of galls (bumps that hold the larvae or eggs).

"We will be looking for signs of animal life, like animal tracks, holes in trees, nests that are now visible in the trees since the leaves have fallen," she said, "We may be able to see some of the birds that migrate here from farther north." 

Geer said the walk is appropriate for all ages. 

"We'll be taking a short hike around the pond exploring nature, and then finish up with hot cider at the center."

According to Bisignani, the center also holds classes for Environmental Education Certification at the center, along with lectures and events.

"We program all year round," she said. 

The walk is free for members. Non-members are $10 per adult, $5 per child. RSVP is encouraged via email.

The walk will take place from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at the center, which is located at 685 Weaver Street.

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