Grand Opening of Grasshopper Grove

 

Cornwall, NY: Children are born with an innate sense of curiosity, adventure and imagination. This weekend the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum will debut the Grasshopper Grove nature play site at the museum's Outdoor Discovery Center. Grasshopper Grove is a half-acre of natural elements that will give young children the opportunity to find adventure and appreciate the wonder of nature by climbing on fallen trees, digging in dirt piles, balancing on boulders and creating imaginative worlds with sticks, pinecones and bark. Children will be encouraged to explore this world, get dirty and, above all, HAVE FUN!

Grasshopper Grove follows a design developed in collaboration with Museum staff, board, parents and preschool students by one of the world's leaders in the field, Adam Bienenstock of Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds.

On Saturday, April 27th everyone will have fun in the "Green Zone" where Museum staff will lead earth-friendly family activities. Children who get their free Planet Protector Passport stamped at each booth will win a prize. Children will also enjoy hay rides and meeting live farm animals including goats, rabbits, chickens, and Black Jack, the Clydesdale horse. At 12pm noon the grand opening of Grasshopper Grove, the Museum's new natural play space for young children, will commence.

Most activities are free with the suggested donation of $5 per car for parking. Refreshments will be available for purchase. All funds raised will support environmental education. Hike-A-Thon 2013 will kick off the Earth Day Celebration earlier in the day! Rain date is Sunday, April 28.

 

What is the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum?

The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum annually teaches more than 16,000 young people to be responsible caretakers of the environment. It is the leader in nature education experiences in the Hudson River Valley due to its many hands‐on programs. A 501(c)(3) organization, the Museum operates two facilities: the Wildlife Education Center in Cornwall‐on‐Hudson, NY and the 177‐acre Outdoor Discovery Center in Cornwall, NY. (www.hhnaturemuseum.org)

Who Made Grasshopper Grove Possible?

There is plenty of credit to go around, including: the Hudson River Valley Greenway for design consultation and startup funding, Garden Club of Orange & Dutchess for helping to select appropriate trees and shrubs and generously sponsoring their purchase and installation. Friends of the Museum who provided general funds and the Fred Najork Family for sponsoring the Adirondack lean‐to, Jay Nannini of Callahan and Nannini Quarry who did all the earth‐moving and provided the gravel paths, Bob Nannini provided the loan of his mini‐excavator. Eugene and Buck Randazzo of Randazzo's landscaping installed the trees and shrubs purchased from E.P. Jansen Nursery with the guidance of Jan Jansen and installed the deer fence. John DiSalvo installed the electric lines after Brian Foley dug the trench for them. Daniel Mack, the Warwick artist and rustic builder, who saw the tremendous potential in the project and agreed to oversee the building of the structural elements along with the builder, Joe Connor. They are using local red cedar from Will Brown's Lowland Farm in Amity and milled at the nearby Holodinski Farm. Working with rustic builder Judd Weisberg, the entry gate is designed to incorporate natural branches in a playful, welcoming fashion. Mr. Mack also brought stonemason Michael Jamieson to the project. TH Remodeling and Renovations are working on keeping the carpentry in historical tact throughout the grounds of the Museum donating time, talent and painting materials.

The Grove's benches are the Eagle Scout project of Washingtonville resident George Onufer. Theym follow a bench design by famed naturalist Aldo Leopold and use local oak that was found, milled and donated by the Museum’s neighbor, Black Rock Forest Consortium.

Museum Director Jackie Grant, who spearheaded the project from its inception, said: "We've built stories here, using native materials and native people. Grasshopper Grove is in the forefront of innovation and will be a dynamic destination that changes with the seasons."

 

For more information visit the museum’s website at hhnaturemuseum.org or call 845-534-5506, ext. 204. Find them on Muser Driver across from 174 Angola Road in Cornwall, NY.