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Oh, ho, ho December!

14 Dec

The holiday bells are ringing and I’m squeezing a post in while I wait for my car to be serviced. Festive gatherings are making me jubilant and inspired!

As sugary delights taunt me, I’m adding in additional exercise and fun. Socializing and being physically active increase energy unlike the negative effects of too many holiday treats.

At a recent party, another guest revealed that he had followed my blog but he had never received it! It was a friendly reminder to get back here.

Joining the National Audubon Society as an environmental educator this spring has been an exhilarating realization of my work and education. Working with Audubon to achieve our mission to conserve habitats for birds in the face of climate change is tangible work of great value for so many reasons. Delivering educational programming to children and adults at the Seneca Meadows Education Center and Wetlands Preserve is a true delight and honor. Audubon’s work teaching people about birds and how to help them directly achieves the goal I’ve state here; to connect people to the places where we work and play.

A volunteer potluck dinner at the Montezuma Audubon Center this month surpassed my expectations. Guests were surprised with a feast of venison and veggie chilis, chicken french, ordeurves, mashed potatoes and numerous desserts; including cream puffs shaped as swans! We talked about rare bird sightings and favored nature preserves, how fun our field trips are and the latest environmental news. Volunteer work ranges from gardening flower beds, running a store register to setting up and breaking down for events. The opportunities to meet others sharing the same interests and to learn are abundant. MARSH works in the Montezuma Wetlands complex area, while I often arrange events along Lake Ontario’s shore, cleaning beaches and collecting water chestnuts, for example. Working alongside others interested in helping birds, increasing positive feelings of engagement and widening our understanding of issues is proactive.

Many volunteer opportunities are in the warmer seasons but there may still be opportunities to contribute and get outside. Researching these organizations and learning about their work can help us remember Spring will come again!

Another place that protects water quality and provides habitat for wildlife and rescued domestic animals is Cracker Box Palace at Alasa Farms, on the southern shore of Sodus Bay on Lake Ontario. An animal sanctuary situated on a Genesee Land trust property, this historic farm is comprised of diverse lands beside the bay. Over 200 rescued farm animals call this property home, relying on three or four staff members and numerous volunteers. A network of trails is available for visitors to experience protected lands including bay views, forest paths and waterfalls in a stream salmon rely upon.

Amazing places surround us, ripe for our discovery and stewardship. Wild, silly, creative people are all around, yearning to engage-to be involved, be valuable and valued-to share joy. These gifts of the season, I wish for us all.

For those who might need a tangible gift, South Shore Artisans in Fair Haven, NY is full of locally made creations. Drop in to find durable pottery, colorful, joyous paintings, and much more throughout the co-op’s three rooms. Avoiding waste and supporting local artists are actions with more benefit than we may remember. Happy Holidays!

 

Developing Adventures at New Park and Beyond

2 Nov

Feelings of adventure include confidence, doubt, curiosity and informed foresight.  Driven forward by this momentum, I drove to New Park to see what the fuss was all about.

Down the road from Taughanock Falls, this hidden gem of an estate lies behind a long wooden fence.  Arriving promptly for my appointment, Director of Operations, Martin Horn welcomed me warmly and began to describe the grounds.  My ability to speak left me as I observed the surroundings.  Magnificent details shine as part of a whole vision of vitality, excellence and comfort.  A custom glass rendition of the Finger Lakes inside a shower, elated me! Vintage telephones, a telephone booth and fluorescent lit jukebox also captured my attention.

Three sculptures of Jay Seaman accompany guests in an open outdoor area between buildings.

A copper musician plays the trombone in celebration and joy in the garden at New Park.

Jay Seaman’s sculpture appears to catch a ribbon unfurling.

Jay Seaman’s oxidized copper jester sculpture blends into the garden discreetly.

Created by Jamie Kehoe, New Park offers a unique, natural and luxurious venue to enjoy the Finger Lakes in numerous ways.

Event space at New Park Retreat

This welcoming space boasts cozy, woodland views while hosting guests gathering for celebrations, workshops and retreats.

A spectacular site for a destination wedding, New Park Corporate and Wellness Retreat can also meet needs of individuals and small groups.  More than a lodging facility, New Park provides a relaxing space to create memories through active means.  Try paddle boarding, indulge in a wine and cheese seminar amidst a woodland walk or learn about birds, water, African dance or butterflies! Sharing magic, through art, hospitality, education and celebration continues to guide activities at New Park.