A Visit to Sky Meadows Park Could Halt Summer Boredom


(Wednesday, July 16, 2008 8:06 AM EDT)

It's mid-July, and for many kids, summer vacation is starting to seem long, hot and dull. What can they do to battle the boredom?

They might want to head to Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane and sign up for its Young Explorers and Pathfinders programs.

Both the Young Explorers (ages 5-8) and Pathfinders (ages 9-12) use the 1628-acre park to teach participants about nature and 19th-century history.

(The focus of the history is from 1860-1868, when the Settle family lived in the property's manor house.)

A couple highlights this year include: “What's Cookin?” which allows participants to make a hearth-cooked lunch in a log kitchen like their great-great-great grandparents might have eaten.

In the “Feathered Friends” program, children will learn to use binoculars and identify the many different birds that live in the park.

And during “War Games,” participants will have the chance to learn what life was like for a soldier during the Civil War by learning marches, drills and battle maneuvers.

But why not just let kids stay home and watch television and play video games?

“There is more to life than electronic devices,” said Sky Meadows' chief ranger of visitor services Jean Johnston.

“Everything we do or have . . . is connected with the earth, and with urbanized society, we've forgotten this. It's important for kids to understand their role in ecology,” she said. “We have nature programs but we have history programs, too, because without history we don't learn. If history isn't important, then we're not important.”

And through its programs, Sky Meadows hopes to plant the seeds of curiosity in nature and history early in young people's lives.

“We want them to have an appreciation for their own environment . . . an appreciation for who we are and where we come from . . . and an appreciation for each other.”

The cost for each program is $15, with a discount for the more programs you sign up for. For more information about the program, call (540) 592-3556.

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