Now that summer is here, we look for ways to spend time with our children and our families. Getting out in nature is a refreshing way to re-energize, re-center, and re-engage with our loved ones. New York City offers a wide variety of settings where you can feel a little bit closer to nature. However, go just outside the city’s gates and you will find rich landscapes blanketed with forests and sprinkled with lakes.
New York State hosts a variety of flora and fauna. To a novice this may make journeying into the great outdoors somewhat daunting, especially when we read news about the danger of ticks, mosquitos, lions, tigers, and bears (oh my!). It’s amazing that anyone would take their family into such wild and unpredictable places. However with a little ole fashioned know-how, you can leave your worries behind. Being prepared is the best way to ensure a safe and fun family experience.
Keep it simple. Treat all ticks the same. The reality is that ticks carry harmful “stuff” that they can transmit to people. Prevention is best. Wear long pants tucked into your socks, or high socks. The lighter the color the better so you can see them. Spray your shoes with insect repellent. I use Badgers Anti-Bug Sunscreen for my daughter because it has natural Citronella and Cedar to repel insects. Ticks like to crawl up, so frequently check yourself along the way.
You can find further information: HERE
2. Poison Ivy:
Poison Ivy grows almost anywhere and comes in many different sizes and colors, which can make identification difficult. However, like I tell my mommies and kiddies “Leaves of three, let it be. Hairy vine, no friend of mine.” Color can range from pale to deep green, dull or shiny, even reddish in the spring and fall. On some plants, you will see a reddish color in the center where the three leaves join. Vines can trail along the ground or meander up tree trunks, ranging in thickness from pencils to forearms. Poison Ivy is the only vine-covered in reddish hairs. Recognizing Poison Ivy can save you from an itchy rash, which is an allergic reaction caused by oils in the plant. Oils can linger on shoes, clothes, or even pets (!) that may have rubbed against the plant, so be sure to wash with soapy, warm water as it will break down the oils.
For additional information click HERE
The majority of outdoor enthusiasts will not encounter a snake. If you do happen to have a run in, it may be reassuring to know that most snakes in New York State are not venomous. In our area there are two exceptions: the Timber Rattlesnake and the Copperhead. Snakes are exothermic meaning they cannot regulate their own body temperature, so a sun-filled rocky cliff or “look out point” is an ideal location. Snakes also spend much of their time under logs or leaves and beneath rocks. The vibrations of a walking stick can alert a snake to move out of our way. If you know you are in an area where snakes reside, it may be best to keep your canine companion on a leash.
Click HERE for further information
Taking a minute or two to familiarize yourself with “the big three” will prepare you and make you more confident on your next outdoor adventure. Sharing these tips with your children can be a way to engage in nature together, while teaching them about safety and awareness. And who better to hear it from than you.
Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum!
Lori LaBorde is the Founder and Master Adventure Guide of NYC Adventure Moms – Guided nature day hikes for adventurous moms who want to get out in the fresh air with their little ones.
She has a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire and a M.A. in Teaching Biology from New York University.
Keep up with Lori on instagram and twitter @nycadventuremom