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The original item was published from 5/5/2021 3:06:00 PM to 5/6/2021 11:36:31 AM.

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DO 05 - Leg. Hahn - PR

Posted on: May 1, 2021

[ARCHIVED] Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn's "A Park A Day in May"

A Park a Day in May Icon Image

Every year as April Showers give way to May Flowers and the mercury begins to climb, we awaken from our winter hibernation eager to get outside again. This year the annual rebirth of Spring has new meaning. This has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us, friends, family, and neighbors are still struggling with mental health issues related to fear, confusion, exhaustion, boredom, anger, sorrow, loneliness, grief, or loss. It is not just the winter blues that we need to recover from. The sight of flowers and the warmth of sun on our faces bring a promise and hope for what is to come.

With May being Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to focus my A Park A Day in May series on meditation, reducing the stigma of mental health, and providing opportunities and outlets for people to connect with themselves, with others and with nature. Parks are places of calm and comfort. Parks provide beauty and are a diversion from these challenging times. Parks offer relief, refreshment, peace and tranquility.

Every day during the month of May, I will describe and post photos of a different Park.  My challenge to you is to visit each of the parks highlighted sometime this spring or summer. When you get to the park at some point during your visit I challenge you to stop, close your eyes and take a deep breathe in and exhale it out. Notice the smell of the forest, the way the ground feels beneath your feet, any sounds like the grass blowing or birds chirping or the squirrels chittering.  Can you feel the sunshine on your face? Is the breeze blowing?  Now open your eyes and take a look around.  Notice 5 things around you that you might have passed without seeing if you had not stopped. The bird on the branch above you, the buds on the trees, the ant making its way down the path.  Maybe you take your shoes off like when you were a child and explore your senses by feeling the grass between your toes. Be here now, in this moment.  Explore the feelings of being one with the forest. It only takes a moment but taking that moment to appreciate being in nature can help alleviate stress, help you think more clearly, and boost your mood.

This year, the 6th year of my annual challenge, I am focusing specifically on “Forest Bathing” and Mental Health Awareness, using parks to provide a respite from the stressors of everyday life. Being outside in nature allows you to spot local wildlife, inhale fresh air, witness spectacular scenic views and even exercise.  Parks are least likely to be crowded at dawn and just before dusk. If a parking lot appears full or nearby roadways are lined with cars, please be considerate and come back another time.

Stay safe, stay healthy and remember to watch out for ticks and leave no trace while hiking these parks.  #APADIM #aparkaday #tools2thrive http://mhamonth.org/.

Wed. May, 5, 2021
A Park a Day in May - May 5th - Rassapeague County Park Image 2A Park a Day in May - May 5th - Rassapeague County Park Image 3

Rassapeague County Park, Nissequogue


Rassapeague County Park located in Nissequogue is a hidden gem, located along Long Beach Road this park offers a half mile, marked out-and-back trail. The trail is hilly but well-marked with hiking logos. The trail leads visitors through the forest, around multiple vernal pools, and end with a small boardwalk area by Stony Brook Harbor. While hiking this trail take a moment to enjoy the views of the forest floor while traversing up and down the hills. The vibrant greens of the trees budding and the plants blooming was just magnificent today. While walking keep your eyes to the ground, you may even find a geocache if you are diligent. Boy Scout Troop 888 of Smithtown adopted this park and helped install a small parking lot, marked the trail, and cleaned up more than 1,000 pounds of debris from the site.
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Tues. May 4, 2021

A Park a Day in May - May 4th Cordwood Landing - Image 1Cordwood Landing County Park, Miller Place


Located in the historic district of Miller Place, this former Girl Scout Camp is now home to extensive walking trails and alluring views of the Long Island Sound! A beautiful nature hike through heavily wooded forests leading to a breathtaking bluff overlooking the sound, there is plenty of scenic landscape for visitors to enjoy. Venture further down and engage in a guided meditation to clear your head of bothersome thoughts and bask in the sounds, sights, and smells of the beach!
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Mon. May 3, 2021
A Park a Day in May - May 3rd - Blydenburgh County Park - Image 1

Blydenburgh County Park, Smithtown


Take a casual stroll through rich forests and valleys, go rowing on Stump Pond, or go freshwater fishing for local fish. Blydenburgh County Park offers a diverse array of experiences that caters to all seeking a day out in nature. Open year-round to all Suffolk County residents, this location is a great place to work on one’s mental wellbeing by connecting with the extensive wildlife present on the property. Bring your loved ones and take a walk through the Blydenburgh Farm and New Mill Historic District, which features a grist mill; or visit the Blydenburgh Dog Park and spend the day with your furry friend!
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Sun. May 2, 2021

A Park a Day in May - May 2nd - Southaven County Park Image 1Southaven County Park, Yaphank


Southaven County Park includes over 1,356 acres of pine-oak forest; the forest is split by the Carmans River. At Southaven visitors can rent a canoe or rowboat, camp at one of over 100 campsites, or enjoy a family picnic in its popular picnic area. There are many recreational activities offered within the many acres of this park including freshwater fishing, hunting and Cross-country skiing (weather permitting). In the ‘60s, Southaven became one of the first County Park’s opened to the public. Located off of Sunrise Highway (Route 27) and west of William Floyd Parkway, visitors to the park can find the entrance off of Victory Avenue (Suffolk CR 56/North Sunrise Service Road). Today in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month the Association for Mental Health and Wellness hosted a mindful walk through Southaven park with Deputy Director Anne Marie Montijo. For more Mental Health Awareness Month events go to http://mhamonth.org/.
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Sat. May 1, 2021

A Park a Day in May-Day 1 - Avalon Park Image 1Avalon Nature Preserve, Stony Brook


Today I visited Avalon Nature Preserve which includes newly renovated boardwalk along the Stony Brook Duck Pond and 140 acres of woodlands, forests, meadows and ponds located at 200 Harbor Road in Stony Brook Village. In celebration of Arbor Day the Preserve in collaboration with the Village of Head of the Harbor hosted an event to honor trees. Attendees were given native tree saplings to plant and learned of the importance of native trees for our community including all species such as insects, birds and wildlife. Avalon Nature Preserve is a perfect location for visitors to get in touch with nature. With six distinct trails situated between freshwater ponds, lush meadows, large glacial boulders, and an abundance of flora and fauna, Avalon Preserve offers opportunities for individuals of varied abilities to unplug from everyday challenges and practice much needed self-care. Avalon is closed on Mondays and has restricted hours, find out more or register for yoga and mindfulness programs at https://avalonnaturepreserve.org/Consistent with this month’s theme of forest bathing, Avalon inspires everyone to embrace their ties to the environment and practice mindfulness when exploring this sanctuary!
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