Organizations That Make a Difference Friends of Rye Nature Recognized for Fostering a Lifelong Connection to Nature

LGCR presents GCA Conservation Award to FRNCThe Little Garden Club of Rye, a member of the Garden Club of America (GCA), earlier this month presented the GCA Conservation Commendation award to the Friends of Rye Nature Center for ensuring the future of the Nature Center, and its shared commitment to outstanding environmental education, land stewardship, and conservation.

 

 

LGCR presents GCA Conservation Award to FRNCThe Little Garden Club of Rye, a member of the Garden Club of America (GCA), earlier this month presented the GCA Conservation Commendation award to the Friends of Rye Nature Center for ensuring the future of the Nature Center, and its shared commitment to outstanding environmental education, land stewardship, and conservation.

 

The Friends of Rye Nature Center has long been focused on conservation, protecting its natural resources, and promoting environmental awareness.  Fifteen years ago, when spending cuts forced the City of Rye to substantially reduce funding to the Center, the Friends went from being a fundraising and overseeing board to a hands-on board in charge of environmental education program planning, and hiring. Since then, the Friends has increased membership, raised public awareness, and, most importantly, ensured that its important conservation and nature programming continue.  

 

In 2007, the Friends partnered with the Inner-City Scholarship Fund in New York City to bring some of the city’s poorest children to summer camp at the Nature Center. Last year 120 children came out for two weeks of environmental learning. This program is based upon the New York State science curriculum and covers topics from conservation to metamorphosis, to habitats and bio-diversity.

 

Today, the Rye Nature Center serves over 10,000 children of all ages each year with environmental education programs, ecology, and summer camp.  The Friends is focused on fostering a lifelong connection to nature. A new kayaking program for 7th and 8th graders teaches participants how to navigate while they travel with other naturalists to other nature preserves in the area.  As one parent put it, “It’s the way they educate the children; their enthusiasm is contagious! They never close their doors, and kids from ages 3 to their mid-teens just keep coming back. You never graduate!”

 

The Friends of Rye Nature Center is also committed to ongoing improvements to the Rye Nature Center’s 47-acre preserve and facility. In 2013, the Rye Nature Center hired its first Director of Conservation and Land Stewardship. Already the new Director, Taro Letaka, has improved trails, taught about the importance of our ecosystem, and planted numerous native plants.

Michelle Hedges