Daytop Village Outdoor Adventures

December 1, 2011

For 13 years, Steve Eisenhauer—our New Jersey regional director of protection and stewardship—has led outdoor education programs s for students from 1st grade to graduate school. Activities focus on Natural Lands Trust’s preserves or other publicly accessible locations near these preserves in Cumberland, Salem, Cape May, and Atlantic Counties. Recently, Steve has had the pleasure of working with 30 teens from Daytop Village, a substance abuse treatment facility established in New York City in 1963 that has a residential campus in Cumberland County.

Over the past two months, Steve has led Daytop Village students on two kayak trips conducted over multiple days. On the first day, Steve taught safety skills and the basics of kayaking, and talked with the kids about the role of public property (land, water, and air) in society. The groups then explored Union Lake and the Maurice River, just upstream from our Harold N. Peek Preserve. After that, Steve visited their classroom to give an interactive presentation about exploring similar publicly accessible open space in the students’ home communities throughout New Jersey. The responsibilities of using public open space were emphasized, as was the wide range of this space: structures, sidewalks, roads, parks, rivers, beaches,  the ocean, and even the air (i.e. when you buy a house how high up can you build, and at what point does the air become public open space?).

With the onset of cold weather, the program is shifting to hiking adventures. A trip to the old growth forest of our Glades Wildlife Refuge is likely to be one of these hikes, as will visits to the trail systems of Parvin State Park and to the Maurice River Trail in Millville.

The pictures above show the students on their kayak adventures, which included spotting one of the five Bald Eagle pairs nesting within the city limits of Millville, NJ. These two particular eagles were seen only a half-mile from downtown Millville.