Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park
Park of the Month - January 2006
Salt Marsh Nature Center
Brooklyn’s Salt Marsh Nature Center in Marine Park hosts some of the Parks Department’s most innovative community outreach programs. For the unparalleled beauty of its surroundings in Marine Park and for its work with high school interns and Afterschool programming, the Salt Marsh Nature Center has been chosen as January’s Park of the Month.
“The Salt Marsh Nature Center has taken great steps to introduce Brooklynites to the nearly 800 acres of precious marshland in Marine Park,” said Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel. “From the Ranger Conservation Corps to its new Afterschool program, it has become an important center for youth environmental education in Brooklyn.”
The Ranger Conservation Corps, an urban environmental internship for high school students, was started in 2001. Since then, scores of students have participated, many of them returning year after to year. Participants get school credit for their involvement and often find mentors in the Urban Park Rangers who run the center. The Rangers Corps takes part in wildlife management, creates interpretive displays, performs trail maintenance, and gets preference when applying for Parks Conservation Corps, a paid summer internship opportunity.
This past fall, the Corps created a Community Composting site at the Salt Marsh Nature Center. The Corps’ goal was to encourage community members to bring organic material to the nature center to be made into rich compost. So far, the Corps has collected nearly 300 pounds of leaves, food scraps, and grass cuttings from the community. The spring project for this group is an ongoing pollinator survey, which involves the planting of native wildflowers and incorporates the nature center’s indoor and outdoor beehives.
This fall, Parks also began its first Afterschool program based in a nature center. The Salt Marsh Nature Center Afterschool program is unique in its focus on an environmental curriculum. Geared towards students of middle school age, it accommodates 20 children and is held three days a week. Weather permitting, the group takes walks on the nature trail and will be doing trail restoration work in the spring. Given appropriate funding, this program will be expanded to all of the City’s nature centers. And, as with all Afterschool programs, it’s free.
The Salt Marsh Nature Center is located near the intersection of East 33rd Street and Avenue U in Brooklyn and is open daily, from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the winter (closed on Wednesday).
Park of the Month introduces some of our greatest parks and greenspaces to curious New Yorkers and visitors alike.