Asbury Woods serves more than 13,000 school children in a typical year through visits to its nature center or programs that take its educational staff to schools across Erie County. Now, the nonprofit will also offer its science and nature programs to children in Erie neighborhoods.
The free Nature in Your Neighborhood initiative will launch June 16 and run Thursday through August 18. Hands-on activities will take place from 2-3 p.m. and will alternate between Perry Square, Wayne Park, Gridley Park, Bayview Park and John E. Horan Garden Apartments. Although the programs are aimed at children ages 5 to 12, organizers said everyone is welcome, even if they live outside the neighborhood, although it is best if children are accompanied by ‘a guardian.
“A fundamental tenet of our vision is to educate people of all ages about Northwest Pennsylvania’s unique and diverse habitats and native wildlife,” said Carissa Snarski, Asbury’s director of development and marketing. Woods. “Research shows that environmental education helps develop creative thinking and relationship skills, fosters leadership qualities, and makes school subjects rich and relevant. The nature in your neighborhood will take science concepts and real-life environmental examples to help to influence how young people think about the world and their connection to it.”
Nature participants in your neighborhood will discover the seeds, skins and skulls of animals, birds and butterflies. Families and individuals can participate in a treasure hunt in nature. The programs will be led by interpretive naturalists from Asbury Woods, Snarski said. She said locations had been chosen in various parts of the city.
“Fostering the diversity of our visitors and program participants is a goal of our strategic plan and taking our show on the road is one way to achieve this,” said Jennifer Farrar, executive director of Asbury Woods, in a press release. “We look forward to welcoming families from every neighborhood to stop by for these hands-on, mind-blowing, staff-led educational activities. Each week offers a unique experience to discover and encourages family participation.
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The program’s goal is to spark a curiosity about nature through engaging themes and provide unique learning experiences in an open and accessible format, according to the press release.
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A sponsorship from the Erie Community Foundation allows Asbury Woods to pilot the program to connect with children close to home, the statement said.
The program also enjoys the support of Erie officials.
“We support the Nature in Your Neighborhood program because it aligns with the City of Erie’s goals to create welcoming and vibrant neighborhoods that provide excellent amenities for all residents, a high quality of life, and community pride. “This free, family-friendly programming will provide residents with educational opportunities in local public spaces in their neighborhoods during the summer months,” said Chuck Zysk, director of the “This free, family-friendly programming will provide residents with educational opportunities.”
If you are going to …
Nature in your neighborhood events are free and take place on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the following locations:
June 16: Wayne Park, East Sixth Street and East Avenue, “Movement in Nature: The Story of Seeds”
June 23: Perry Square, State Street and North Park Row, “Insides and Outsides: Explore Animal Skins and Skulls”
June 30: Gridley Park, Park Avenue and Liberty Street, “Movement in Nature: The story of seeds”
July 7: Bayview Park, West Second and Cherry Streets, “Insides and Outsides: Explore Animal Skins and Skulls”
July 14: John E. Horan Garden Apartments, 730 Tacoma Road, “Movement in Nature: The Story of Seeds”
July 21: Wayne Park, “Taking Flight: The Wonderful World of Birds”
July 28: Perry Square, “I Spy: Wilderness Scavenger Hunt”
August 4: Gridley Park, “Taking Flight: The Wonderful World of Birds”
August 11: Bayview Park, “I Spy: Wilderness Scavenger Hunt”
August 18: John E. Horan Apartments, “Monarch Madness: Butterfly life cycles”
For more information, call 814-835-5356 or visit www.asburywoods.org/events/nature-in-your-neighborhood.
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