“Nature in Spring” Series at the Finger Lakes Museum

Photo by Helen Heizyk

Warmer temperatures and bright sunshine are lending themselves to more time outdoors.  With increased physical health benefits (lower blood pressure, lower pulse rate, lower cortisol rates) and positive mental health benefits (greater sense of calm, increased empathy and more cooperation) being outside is a no-brainer activity for overall better health. The Finger Lakes Museum is hosting a new program series, a perfect way to welcome in the warm spring weather and a greater sense of well-being. The Nature in Spring series is comprised of 3 outdoor programs, each one exploring another facet of the natural world of the Finger Lakes.

Seeing scurrying animals as they emerge from their winter homes is one of the first signs of spring to many. But have you ever wondered what happens on the inside of those forest boundaries? The lives and activities of creatures, big and small, leave visible hints, if we know what to look for. The first program of the Nature in Spring series is animal tracking and will show you exactly what to look for to explore the lives within the forest. Held on Saturday, April 16 at the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Martin Preserve in Ithaca, tracker, naturalist and author, Linda Spielman, will guide participants for a behind-the-scenes look at what happens in the forests when humans aren’t there.

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As animals live their happy lives within the forest, did you know that we as humans can also have great happiness when immersing in a natural environment? Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese practice that originated in the 1980s as a way to encourage people to get outside and to reconnect with nature. Often termed forest bathing, this practice involves spending time in the forest, walking, meditating and embracing the beauty with all the senses. If you’re not sure where to start with forest bathing, the museum hosts a program on May 7 at the Finger Lakes Land Trust’s Botsford Preserve in Branchport. Certified Forest Therapy Guide, Deb Denome, utilizes her background in horticultural therapy to lead participants in this 3-hour immersive experience that concludes with a tea ceremony. A full sensory experience you will definitely never forget.

The last program in this series is the annual bird walk, returning this year for its 9th year at the museum’s Townsend Grady Wildlife Preserve in Branchport. Previous participants have identified over 40 species of birds by sight or sound as birds migrate their way across Sugar Creek and Keuka Lake. High in the trees, gliding along the water, or bounding along the wetlands paths, this bird-watching program on May 14th will increase participants’ connection to the natural world with fresh air and sunshine.

Registration for the series, is available at the museum’s website www.FingerLakesMuseum.org.

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