A year ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and we closed the Teatown Visitor Center and our staff began working from home, we never imagined the emotional rollercoaster ride the next months would be. We certainly did not expect to enter a second spring with the Visitor Center still closed to the public.
Yet this is our “now normal” – no longer a new or temporary phenomenon. We are proud of the way we have hosted safe, small-group outdoor programs throughout this year. We are honored that we have welcomed thousands of hikers to the preserve, offering the important chance to get outdoors, breathe fresh air, and walk off some of the lingering anxiety of this pandemic time. We are equally proud that our Education Team has provided meaningful, high-quality virtual field trips and Zoom-based classes for lifelong learners and students from as far away as California and as near as Ossining. For students from under-resourced communities, we made available “No Child Left Inside” scholarships for our virtual field trips and continued to run our afterschool program “Grow Wild Outside” at Park Early Childhood Center, reimagined as “Grow Wild at Home.”
So even as we take heart in more vaccines and fewer new cases, we are working enthusiastically to apply the lessons we have learned in the past year. We are improving the visitor experience at Teatown as we all emerge from our long winter hibernation and embrace the promise of spring. We are welcoming our community by:
• Planning for the re-opening of the Visitor Center to the public
• Re-designing the information kiosk at the main parking lot
• Translating informational signage into several languages – an important aspect of our increasing diversity and inclusion efforts
• Hosting outdoor education programs for all ages with all necessary COVID-prevention precautions, including temperature checks and screening questions
• Planning for the return of our 2021 Summer Science Day Camp, from late June through mid-August
• Expanding our Pop-up Nature Store near the Lakeside Trailhead
• Making habitat upgrades in the Cliffdale meadows to improve flyways for migratory birds like Eastern Bluebirds and nesting habitat for birds like the American Woodcock
• Restoring wetlands and planting native plant species in Wildflower Woods
• Removing invasive trees and planting new oak trees on Spring Valley Road
These upgrades and efforts simply are not possible without your support. We are grateful for the generosity of our members, friends, and visitors over these many months, and for the encouragement you have offered in so many ways. Please consider giving to Teatown in this spring season – in whatever amount you are able – and help us continue to make our 1,000 acres, 15 miles of hiking trails, and environmental education programs an integral part of your life and our community’s life.
With kindest regards,
Teatown Lake Reservation is a 501 (C) (3) charitable organization; your donation is fully tax deductible as specified by IRS laws.