By MyRye.com correspondent Sarah Jautz
Warm weather is finally here, and it’s time for you to get outside, and take advantage of the nature beyond your own backyard! There are many great places in Rye to get out and get active. Three great places to relax, discover, and escape are the Nature Center, the Edith Read Sanctuary, and the Marshlands Conservancy. I visited all three, and here are some of the key things you should know about them.
THE RYE NATURE CENTER
The Rye Nature Center’s mission is to protect Rye’s natural resources, and promote environmental protection and education. There are many fun things to visit and explore in the 47-acre Rye Nature Center.
In the Maple Sugar Shed, you’ll learn the science behind the fascinating maple sugaring process. You can go hunting for rocks and minerals at the Old Quarry, even though it was blasted sixty years ago. You may also enjoy learning about the life of a honeybee at the indoor observation hive. If you’re a little more daring, you can witness the outdoor hive – from a safe distance!
The Nature Center's Playground is a fun place for younger nature lovers. One of the most interesting parts of the Nature Center is the Parson’s Estate. It was once a towering mansion, but it burned down in a mysterious fire around 70 years ago. Part of the mansion still stands on the Rye Nature Center’s property, and it has become an excellent tool to teach people about natural reclamation and erosion.
The Nature Center’s trails are also a wonderful place to go and take a walk through, as long as you don’t disturb anything, and are respectful of the nature that lives there. Even though the Rye Nature Center is the smallest of the three places, it is still lots of fun. I loved walking through the forest, but my favorite parts were discovering different kinds of rocks in the Old Quarry, and looking at the old Parson’s Estate, which was very interesting!
Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk. The Visitor Center is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Address: 873 Boston Post Road. For more information you can call 967-5150 or visit their website at www.ryenaturecenter.org.
THE EDITH READ SANCTUARY
The Edith Read Sanctuary is a 170-acre home to many different types of birds and marine wildlife. It is named after Rye resident and environmentalist Edith Read, who died in 2006 at the age of 102. The Edith Read Sanctuary has been recognized by the National Audubon Society of New York as an important bird area, because of it’s significant shoreline habitat. There are three miles of trails through the Edith Read Sanctuary, and they snake through the relaxing woods, and open up to a small beach point, filled with mossy rocks and tide pools to explore and discover!
Personally, this was my favorite part: exploring the beach, and observing a whole other world in the tide pools. Restrooms, maps, information, and checklists of seasonally distinct birds are available at the Sanctuary center. The building also houses a small number of exhibits on the ecology of the area.
Sanctuary center hours: 9am to 5pm. Trail hours daily, dawn to dusk. Access to Edith Read Sanctuary is behind the Rye Playland Amusement Park.
THE MARSHLANDS CONSERVANCY
The Marshlands Conservancy offers a wonderful 173 acres of forest, marsh, and shoreline for people to walk through and enjoy. Their trails make a loop through the Marshlands; run parallel to the Long Island Sound, and also lead to the largest remaining salt marsh in Westchester County. In fact, hundreds of birds stop at the marsh, meadow, or forest to refuel for their long journey each spring and fall, making it a makeshift rest stop for birds, just without the fast food places!
One trail is full of stepping-stones and plank bridges, which are a lot of fun to cross and jump over, while the other is more relaxing. I myself am a stepping-stones and plank bridges kind of girl, but there is fun there for everyone! The Marshlands Conservancy’s mission is to create life-enriching experiences at safe, clean, affordable parks through responsible leadership, and preserving our natural recourses.
The conservancy hours are from 9am to 5pm, Wednesday through Sunday, and most holidays. Trails are open every day from dawn to dusk. Please call 914-835-4466 for more information. Address: 220 Boston Post Road.
So get off that couch that you’ve been glued to all winter long, grab your family, and take advantage of some of the amazing nature sites that are located right here in Rye. Maybe we’ll run into each other! Sadly your pooch will have to stay at home – none of these sites allow dogs. When you visit them, please help out and pick up some of the litter that has been carelessly thrown away. Remember to take only photographs and leave only footprints!