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Spring Gardening in NYC

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Activities for Spring   This is the season when students are itching to get outdoors! I take my classes into the park whenever I can. Now is the time for planting, bird watching, nature walks, and foraging!

See also Travels with Laurie – Spring and read some books that help us to appreciate nature.

Take a walk with Wildman Steve, an environmental educator who has permission to forage and gather in our local city and state parks. Meet him in Central Park on April 3 or 24, or check his calendar for other locations. Bring the family, a large spoon for digging, and enough plastic bags to bring home wild greens for a week's worth of dinner salads. Early spring is the peak season for wild salad greens, with names like poor man's pepper, hairy bittercress, and garlic mustard.

You have to visit the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx to see The Orchid Show: On Broadway, which is pure horticultural theater. Dazzling displays using over 300 kinds of orchids were arranged by Tony award winning set designer Scott Pask and image-maker Drew Hodges along with Botanical Garden curators. The exhibit continues through April 25th.

Gardening programs in Brooklyn and the Bronx at the Botanical Gardens: Summer registration opens Monday, April, 4th and spring planting is happening now at the Children's Garden in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The summer program is popular with local homeschooling families, with programs for preK – grade 8. There are limited scholarships based on need. In the Bronx, at the NY Botanical Gardens, the children's gardening program is for ages 3-12, and runs in three seasonal sessions from April through October. They also have limited scholarships, based on need.

In Brooklyn, there are always nature activities at the Audubon Center at the Boathouse in Prospect Park. Every Saturday and Sunday, from now through the end of August, from 1 - 2 pm teachers and naturalists engage children in fun science activities, from 2 - 3 pm they introduce art activities using natural materials, and from 3 - 4 pm children are invited to take a nature walk to investigate the park and its animal residents. During the holiday week of 4/18 - 4/22, M-F from 1 - 4 pm kids are invited to learn how to use a naturalist's tools and create a nature journal. All of these activities are FREE!

At Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, there is a daily program during the week of 4/18-4/22 where children make their own pot of herbs to take home using newspaper, soil and seeds. Also, the carousel nearby opens on April 2nd, weekends and holidays, noon - five.

In the Bronx, at Crotona Nature Center, in Crotona Park, April 10th at 11 am is the time for tapping maple trees. Learn about the ancient art of maple sugaring, from its use by Native Americans as a delicacy to its role in the American Revolution.

Van Cortlandt Nature Center in Van Cortlandt Park invites families to Grow in the Garden and assist with composting, weeding and planting. Fun for the whole family! Saturday April 9, 11 am, free.

, Join a thousand community gardeners on Satuday April 2nd, 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. at Hostos Community College in the Bronx for a GreenThumb GrowTogether, a full day of workshops and fun. Cost: Pre-register by March 25th $3 = breakfast + workshops + lunch + T-shirt. Register at the door on April 2nd and the cost is $5 = breakfast + workshops. You must pre-register to guaranteed lunch and a T-shirt. For more info, call (212) 788-8070 or email