In the southern region of the Tug Hill, there’s a growing sense of purpose and excitement.
You might assume that the woodlands, meadows, and streams that comprise so much of the area are accessible
to people from all walks of life, but that’s not often the case. Public conservation lands with welcoming trails, in many areas, are few and far between.
Research has documented that youth are facing greater stress due to social isolation, falling behind in their studies due to the Pandemic, and lack of time in nature.
Being in nature can improve focus, build self-esteem, improve empathy, and foster greater success at school.
Partnerships between our land trust and State Parks in Verona Beach, and in the Town of Western, as well as community organizations like Midtown Urban Community Center (MUCC) and Young Scholars LLP in Utica, are so important.
It’s a step in providing outdoor experiences within the southern part of our region for those who, so far, have had little chance to experience the wonders of nature on a regular basis.
Sally Smith, Verona Beach State Park Supervisor, explains, “People need nature. We know that. But what we often forget is that nature needs people who care. By creating positive memorable experiences, these young people can grow up sharing their love of the outdoors with their family. The importance of saving these lands for future generations doesn’t come from being ‘educated.’ It comes from the heart.”
“People need nature. We know that. But what we often forget is that nature needs people who care…”
— Sally Smith, Verona Beach State Park Supervisor