Trail design guidelines for children and families

By |November 29th, 2015|Categories: Ideas & Tools|

by Julie Murphy When it comes to connecting children to nature in cities, trails are vital. Trails, pathways, and greenways are like arteries of nature in cities. They connect neighborhoods, parks, destinations, and create opportunities for meandering exploration. They may be destinations for runners and cyclists as well as bird watchers and hikers. So why focus particularly on kids and families? Today’s kids need nature more than ever (see the Children and Nature Network website and Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods, in the resources section below, for more).Most cities and park systems have lots of trails, but children and families don’t often use them. Young children have particular needs and designing trails with them in mind can help make the trails more accessible for people of all ages.  There are a few simple ways cities and parks systems can both design new trails and modify existing trails so [...]

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Biophilic Bronx: Four Great Places to Hike in New York City’s Greenest Borough

By |November 29th, 2015|Categories: Ideas & Tools|

by Katherine Gloede Aside from Central Park, foliage and forest is probably not the first imagery that accompanies mention of America’s biggest concrete jungle. But according to the Trust for Public Land, New York City has more than 38,000 park acres making up almost 20% of the City’s total land area, more than any other major U.S. city. Of the Five Boroughs, the Bronx is the most covered in green space with parkland alone comprising nearly a quarter of land cover. “The Bronx is home to two of the city's largest parks where you can visit and enjoy miles of hiking, history, and beautiful vistas,” says Professor Mary Leou of Environmental Conservation Education at New York University. Here are four unique experiences across the Bronx worthy of a day trip for either a first time visitor or native New Yorker. Bronx River on the trail in NYBG. Photo provided [...]

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Valuing Dark Skies

By |May 12th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

James D. Brown For at least half a century, astronomers have paid witness to the debilitating effects of artificial light on the night skies. In more recent years, growing science and our own innate understanding of a disconnection has led us to better understand that we are all suffering from a lack of dark skies. We not only suffer a human and spiritual disconnect without dark skies but there are also costs for our health and the environment.Cities and towns across the country have attempted for several years to adopt local laws to limit the adverse impacts of artificial light on the night sky. The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) has been at the forefront of this effort. IDA summarizes the primary damaging effects of artificial light as three-fold: (1) artificial skyglow – the diffused, pervasive light on the horizon; (2) glare – the visual discomfort and reduced visibility caused [...]

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Lights Out in Flagstaff, Arizona!

By |May 11th, 2015|Categories: Dark Skies, Ideas & Tools|

Briana Bergstrom When the great earth, abandoning day, rolls up the deeps of the heavens and the universe, a new door opens for the human spirit, and there are few so clownish that some awareness of the mystery of being does not touch them as they gaze. For a moment of night we have a glimpse of ourselves and of our world islanded in its stream of stars – pilgrims of mortality, voyaging between horizons across eternal seas of space and time. Fugitive though the instant be, the spirit of man is, during it, ennobled by a genuine moment of emotional dignity, and poetry makes its own both the human spirit and experience. – Henry Beston, The Outermost House (1928) A Protected Night Sky Over Flagstaff Credit and Copyright: Dan & Cindy Duriscoe, FDSC, Lowell Obs., USNO No trip to Arizona is complete without a night spent gazing [...]

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