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Inwood Hill Park

The Daily Plant : Monday, January 5, 2004


Winter has arrived in New York City and the first place people want to be is indoors. However, the great outdoors offers many fun activities. With over 28,000 acres of parkland, there is no excuse to stay inside.

There are ten nature centers in the five boroughs, each offering programming for people of all ages. Each serves as an in-park community center for public education, recreational activities and environmental studies. The centers serve as starting points for walking tours and workshop sites for educational programs for the whole family. Parks & Recreation's Urban Park Rangers, the uniformed stewards of our parks, run these sites. In addition to operating the nature centers, they host environmental, cultural, and recreational programming. The Urban Park Rangers are also responsible for rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife and oversee species reintroduction programs.

Each season, the Urban Park Rangers publish a calendar of programming, known as "The Red Tailer." This winter, many fun and exciting activities are planned and all are free to the public. One highlight includes Winter Survival Workshop: Orienteering. New Yorkers will practice basic survival skills, learning how to use a compass and what they should do if they ever find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Others programs include snowshoeing through Inwood Hill Park, taking a night hike through Crotona Park, and viewing winter nature photography in Forest Park.

The Urban Park Rangers also play an important role with the wildlife of our parks. Just recently, in November, they rescued an injured Great Blue Heron living at Central Park's Harlem Meer. Located just across Fifth Avenue from Arsenal North (home to the Urban Park Rangers), this body of water hosts many birds, fish, and other wildlife. The Rangers used the least traumatic method possible to capture the bird, called a "mat trap," catching the bird as it walked onto a flat mat. The four-foot tall Great Blue Heron was immediately taken to Green Chimneys, a rehabilitator in Brewster, New York. The rehabilitator discovered that a fishing hook and line had injured the bird's leg. The wounds quickly healed and the Great Blue Heron was returned to his Central Park home just a few days later.

The Urban Park Rangers also spearhead projects to reintroduce many species into New York City parks. Since 1998, the Rangers have been reintroducing screech owls into Central Park. To date 32 owls have been released and at least eight have decided to make the park their permanent home. So far, these owls have produced at least four offspring.

Parks & Recreation is also releasing bald eagles into parks in New York City. This five-year program brings four eaglets each summer from Wisconsin to live in Inwood Hill Park in Upper Manhattan. At first the eaglets live in "hack boxes" or tree houses. After a few weeks, the doors to the boxes are opened and the eaglets are free to explore their surroundings, learning how to scavenge and fly. When the eagles reach their sexual maturity (around age four or five), they look for a familiar place to start a nest, and it's hoped that they will return to Inwood Hill Park. So far, two years of this wildlife management program have been completed.

So whether it's learning survival skills or keeping a lookout for a screech owl, there's plenty to do in New York City's parks this winter and Parks & Recreation's Urban Park Rangers can help lead the way.


Congratulations to Margaret Peeler, Deputy Chief of Operations for Manhattan, who gave birth to a baby girl on Tuesday, December 30. Her name is Liliana Peeler and she weighs 7 lb., 14 oz. We hope that Margaret and Liliana are resting comfortably.


"Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep."

Fran Lebowitz

(b. 1950)

Directions to Inwood Hill Park

Know Before You Go

Nature CentersInwood Hill Nature Center

Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this facility is closed until further notice.

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