Late Fall 2004
Vol. 12 No. 3
"Vision without action is only a dream. Action without vision only passes time. Vision with action can change the world." - Joel Baker

In this issue...

Reflections from the President

How the Nature Area Works with Other Groups

Education Committee

Nature Area Happenings

Garlic Mustard - Another Damaging Exotic

Nature Area Entrance - Native Garden

Did you know?

Upcoming Events...

November 6
Annual Meeting
10:00 AM
Centennial Farm
Members & Public

November 13
Work Day
9:00 AM
Nature Area

Reflections from the President

Children – the Faces of our Future
by Bruce Jones

President Bruce Jones with
"Landscape for Learning" Boulder

The 2 months that have passed since our last newsletter have been as active as ever for the GINLC. Our projects are right on target and we have added what I think is another really positive initiative. And yet our diverse involvement in the community has also produced some insights that, to me, are very disturbing.

Surprise!  Our new initiative involves our community's children. We have many talented students in our school district that never receive recognition for their creativity and talent. I am referring to those with talent in the visual arts including photography and in creative writing. With this issue, we are inaugurating a program to give recognition for these talents. Please note the art work in this issue.

On August 10, we signed a $102,000 contract for the restoration of the remaining devastated shoreline at the Nature Area. This project is now in full swing and we have received $45,000 in grant monies. Our first phase is a major assault on the invasive plants along the shoreline. This phase began in July and will take about 3 months. Actual construction is scheduled to begin the week of October 18. Planting is scheduled for next April or May giving us a chance to see how successful we are in the eradication of the unwanted plants.

A great diversity of locally discovered boulders are now in place at our schools and we are working with the students and faculty to develop them into learning centers. Our “Landscape for Learning” project is well covered in Liz Hugel's article.

And last but not least, we will be providing astronomy lectures and star viewing for our science classes when they are studying units on astronomy and astrophysics. These night sessions will also be available to the general public.

But there has been a negative side too. In preparing an explanation of why we are so committed to our “Landscape for Learning” project, I was saddened to learn of the high percentage of New York City children who have never seen the moon or stars. It makes sense when you consider the high rise buildings, the light pollution and the haze.

Visits from inner city children are always revealing and sometimes frightening. On August 25, we hosted about 20 children, ages from 6 to 14 from the Delray Community Center at the Nature Area. It was a new experience for most of these kids. Most had never seen flying grasshoppers and nor had they seen little toads. While showing these little creatures to the group and watching them struggle to get free, someone remarked about their instincts for survival. One of their adult chaperones responded with. “Yeah, too bad we humans don't have it.” On being turned loose, the grasshopper flew and the toad made a bee line for the grass. One of the children yelled, “Step on it, Step on it!”

I feel certain the gentleman who referred to “we humans” was referring to the violence in our inner cities and world. However, he unknowingly was also raising the issue of the mounting scientific evidence on the deleterious effects that trace chemicals have on our children's mental and physical development. Many of these chemicals are now being shown to be hormone inhibitors and endocrine disrupters with unfortunate consequences.