Take Your Kids Out for a Walk

March 20, 2009 at 9:40 pm 1 comment

posted by Leslie Day ’93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City

As a naturalist and educator I spend my days observing the plant and animal life along the Hudson River in Manhattan where I live on a houseboat, and teaching life science to 5th and 8th graders at The Elisabeth Morrow School in Englewood, New Jersey.

Yesterday there was so much to look at on my early morning walk with my dog Sadie. hawk2First we checked on the construction of the red-tail hawk nest in a London plane tree just north of the 79th Street Boat Basin. It looks like it’s almost complete. Soon Riverside Mom will be sitting on her eggs, while Riverside Dad brings her food: squirrels, rats, mice, pigeons, blue jays, robins, starlings and other forms of animal life from the surrounding park. Then Sadie pulled me south toward 59th Street. brandtgeeseWe saw different species of ducks: American black ducks, mallards, gadwalls, buffleheads; and geese including a pair of Brandt geese and many Canada geese. And then – I couldn’t believe my eyes! – I saw a muskrat swimming past a pier at 64th Street. I tried to get my camera out of my pocket in time, but the muskrat dove down and there it stayed. I waited about 15 minutes, but it never came back up and I had to leave. I later read that they can stay submerged for almost 20 minutes! They are semi-aquatic rodents, smaller than the American beaver, and feed mainly on vegetation. This was an exciting discovery.

Walking by any wetland is an educational experience filled with surprises and discoveries. A just-released study of the health of American birds shows that numbers of herons, egrets, ducks, and other waterfowl have increased due to wetland conservation. Teachers and parents, take your kids out for a walk by a river, pond, lake, or stream. You and your children will be thrilled to see the beauty and diversity of the wildlife that awaits you.

Leslie Day’s book, Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2007. You can find out more about Leslie and her book and can read her blog at www.fieldguidenyc.com. By the way, she also teaches “Science for Teachers” at Bank Street.

Entry filed under: environmental education.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lauren Perlman  |  November 10, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I was Leslie’s student teacher at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School many years ago. She is MAGICAL!!!!!!!!!!!! I would recommend reading whatever she blogs about, taking as many of her classes as possible, and certainly purchasing her book! She is a one-of-a-kind educator and human being and I still marvel about what an honor it was to teach with her πŸ™‚

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava β€˜08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers β€˜84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten β€˜84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras β€˜07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay β€˜88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall β€˜87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day β€˜76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
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Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters β€˜02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
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Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett β€˜84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein β€˜67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman β€˜67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones β€˜05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser β€˜87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer β€˜97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens β€˜03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford β€˜89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden β€˜97
Marion Palm β€˜95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen β€˜06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
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Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
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Barbara Silver β€˜80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone β€˜84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer β€˜74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
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Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg β€˜03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
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Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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