Stepping Out

Put some green in your step

Explore and honor the environment during Earth Month

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Spring’s arrival is eagerly welcomed as Mother Nature surrounds our senses as the season bursts forth. Throughout April, “Earth Month,” activities that focus on our natural world remind everyone about the importance of our environment and our role in continuing to preserve and protect it.

There’s much going on throughout the area to involve all ages, culminating in festivities that salute Arbor Day later on this month.

Earthy adventures at Garvies Point Preserve

Garvies Point Museum and Preserve, the 62-acre site along the Long Island Sound shoreline near Hempstead Harbor, offers a fascinating look at local geology, in addition to Native American archeology.

The preserve consists of glacial moraine covered by forests, thickets and meadows. Woodlands, ponds and fields home to a variety of wildlife within the five miles of marked nature trails. Wooded areas contain 60 tree species as well as numerous shrubs, vines and wildflowers. Reflecting the North Shore’s rocky shoreline, Garvies’ woods and meadows, with their varied plant life, attract more than 140 species of birds; notably, scarlet tanagers and many varieties of warblers. The preserve also features butterfly gardens that attract diverse species of butterflies and birds Woodchucks, opossums and raccoons can occasionally be seen in the woods or along a meadow edge.

Activities that highlight this complex environment are the focus of Earth Day-related programming, which began earlier in the week, continuing through April 22, along with a tribute to Arbor Day on April 28.

Explore ecosystems during a nature walk through the woods on April 13, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Learn about the preserve’s plants, trees and animals and how they all interact in a discovery of the yearly rebirth of nature.

Examine the dynamics of water energy, on Friday, April 14, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Witness the power of moving water during this family-friendly program and observe how it sculpts the landscape in a stream table demonstration, along with a short walk down to the shoreline. A sand mosaic art activity is also offered throughout the day, along with a film by Bill Nye, the Science Guy, on erosion.

Or venture back in time, on Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., during Dinosaur Day. Explore the era when these prehistoric creatures roamed, guided by Garvies geologists. See and touch fossils, try out a fossil “dig” and even dress up like a dinosaur. Kids can also create a “fossil” to take home.

Bring the family next Saturday, April 22, for an Earth Day celebration, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., in which kids can make a terrarium craft. Participants will create an enclosed ecosystem that will last for years, with a glass jar, soil, plants and pebbles.

Also visit the museum’s ongoing exhibits to learn about the region’s birth and changing geology, and take a look at Native American culture.

The Preserve closes out Earth Month, honoring Arbor Day, with a screening of the film, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” on Friday, April 28. This classic story is told in an animated film about a man who planted 100 acorns a day for 30 years and single handedly transformed an arid landscape back to life.

Garvies Point Museum & Preserve, 50 Barry Drive, Glen Cove. For more information, call (516) 571-8010 or www.garviespointmuseum.com.

Environmental activism at Long Island Children’s Museum

Long Island Children’s Museum offers inspiration to its young visitors to respect Mother Nature, on Earth Day next Saturday, April 22. The museum encourages families to become Earth activists by examining environmental conditions that impact our planet during “Our Earth, Our Home,” 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Families will look at natural conditions that help the environment by learning how trees keep our planet healthy and how to identify native trees and exploring the role that different trees play in the ecosystem.Visitors can also examine how sea level changes are having a negative impact on the environment, especially on communities that live near coastlines. Museum staff will guide everyone in conducting experiments by creating topographical maps that allow visitors to monitor impacts on the coastline as they increase the sea level on their landform. 

 And discover the world under our feet on the LICM stage, April 22 and 23, with puppeteer Liz Joyce’s performance of “The Doubtful Sprout.” Tunnel down underground with Worm and Sprout to discover the mysterious life found in soil.

Long Island Children’s Museum, Museum Row, Garden City. For further information, contact (516) 224-5844 or www.licm.org.