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    Parks, Recreation and Trees
     The New Haven Park Rangers Program

    Established in 1946 with the creation of the West Rock Nature Center, The Rangers Program exemplifies a low impact lifestyle in our City Parks. It is charged with providing residents with a first hand understanding of the effects that human activities impose on ecological relationships while providing instruction in natural history and environmentally responsible choices in an effort to engender a sense of stewardship for our natural resources.

    The objective of the ranger programs is twofold:
    1. for students to realize that the parks are here for their enjoyment and
    2. to feel a sense of responsibility to take care of their parks.

    To schedule a program or to obtain  more information about a topic, call the telephone number listed at the end of each program section. Programs run for approximately one hour and begin at 10:00 a.m. This coincides with the New Haven school system “free bus” time. Ranger programs are free for students in the New Haven schools. Schools outside New Haven are required to pay a fee of $2.00 to $3.00 per child. Classes are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you schedule a ranger program and must cancel, please call as soon as possible. We always have another class anxious to take your place.


    Exciting Programs for Students

    New Haven's park ranger programs introduce students to New Haven’s park system. Students learn about the ranger’s job, which is to teach people about our parks and the resources found in them, and they develop a sense of ownership of their parks.

    logo bulletAnimal tracking/tree identification
    logo bulletBird walks
    logo bulletCandle & wreath making workshops
    logo bulletFishing
    logo bulletGeology walks
    logo bulletHawk watch and hawk festival
    logo bulletHiking and Nature Interpretation
    logo bulletIntroduction to Reptiles
    logo bulletMaple sugaring
    logo bulletNature walks
    logo bullet Wildflower walks

    logo bulletOwl pellet workshop
    logo bulletPond exploration
    logo bulletNature Pals Playgroup
    logo bulletMigration Festival (formerly Hawk Watch and Hawk Festival)
    logo bulletKayaking
    logo bulletOrienteering
    logo bulletSnorkeling
    logo bulletStory telling
    logo bulletTours of the Lighthouse
    logo bulletGeology walks
    logo bulletRopes Course
    Animal Tracking/Tree Identification
    This program involves the exploration of Edgewood Park in the winter. Searching for animal tracks, as well as being able to identify trees without leaves, makes this program a great activity for children, grades K-6. Available only during the winter. For more information contact the Edgewood Ranger at (203) 946-8028.  

    Bird Walks

    Lead by park rangers and naturalists, these walks teach about migrating birds, as well as some of our local resident species. Offered at all ranger stations. Check calendar for dates. For more information, please contact the East Rock Ranger Station/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086, the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028 or the West Rock Nature at (203) 946-8016.

    Bird Watching

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    Candle & Wreath Making Workshops

    A perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Learn how to make and decorate a wreath or how to dip a candle. This program is offered at East Rock and Edgewood parks and the West Rock Nature Center. For more information, contact the East Rock/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086, the Edgewood Park Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028 or the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

    Candle making workshop
    Candle making workshop

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    Fishing

     

    This is a favorite activity for some of our rangers, who will be happy to pass on their "secrets" while they demonstrate fishing techniques and equipment. Our salt and fresh-water fishing derbies are becoming more and more popular. Ranger Dan Barvir, also organizes Bluefishing trips. For more information, please contact the East Rock Ranger Station at (203) 946-6086, or the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator at (203) 946-6768.

    Fishing

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    Geology Walks

    Join our staff and special guests for a series of fascinating walks through the parks. This program is offered at East Rock and West Rock parks. For more information, contact the East Rock/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086, or the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

     

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    Hawk Watch and Hawk Festival

    Learn about these amazing birds of prey. Bring your binoculars or borrow a pair from the rangers. Offered at East Rock, West Rock and Lighthouse Point parks. For more information, contact the East Rock/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086 or the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016. Hawk festival will be held each year in the autumn. Check the monthly calendar for dates.

    Red Tailed Hawk

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    Hiking and Nature Interpretation

    Nature walks provide a unique opportunity to see the city from different angles, to observe the birds that roam around in New Haven parks, and to appreciate and respect the local wildlife and natural ecosystems. Lead by park rangers and naturalists, these walks teach low-impact, leave-no-trace ethics and skill, our way of educating residents about preserving our fragile habitats. This program is offered at all ranger stations. For more information, please contact the East Rock Ranger Station/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086; the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028 or the West Rock Nature Center (203) 946-8016.

    Nature

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    Introduction to Reptiles

    This program is offered several times each year and depending upon the age group could include: A nature walk to the ravine of the Nature Center looking for "reptile signs," "Hands on" presentation with snakes and turtles in the Nature House, Reptile slides and video in the Visitors Center. For more information call the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016, or the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028.

    Reptiles

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    Maple Sugaring

    Maple trees, syrup and pancakes are a New England tradition. Join our staff and learn how to identify a maple tree, tap a tree for sap, boil the sap, and taste the final product. Note: This program is offered only from late February to mid-March. For more information, contact the East Rock Ranger Station/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086. Check the monthly calendar for dates.

     

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    Nature Walks

    This program is offered year-round (weather permitting), and could include any of the following: Identifying trees, birds, flowers, animals’ tracks, including brook study, hiking, orienteering, and biodiversity. For more information call the East Rock Ranger Station/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086, the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028, or the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

    Nature Walk

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    Wildflower Walks

    A nature lover’s delight, this program is offered during several times of the year at the West Rock Nature Center. Lead by naturalists and/or rangers, this program includes hikes through the woods, which allows participants to learn, identify and even photograph striking native species. For more information call the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

    Butterfly at East Rock

    Owl Pellet Workshop

    This popular program introduces children and youth to the fascinating world of owls. By using sterilized owl pellets, students reconstruct the owl's prey by piecing together the bones and studying the skulls. Pellets consist of the hair and bones that owls regurgitate following a meal. They contain valuable clues to what the owl was eating, and the habitat in which the owl was hunting. The program also teaches children about where owls live, how they see so well at night and how to tell if there are owls living nearby. Students will be fascinated by our museum grade specimen of the great horned owl, Bubo Virginianus. Fees are $4.00 per student. For more information, contact the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028.

    Barred Owl in Edgewood Park

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    Pond Exploration

    This program includes the use of a seining net, which allow participants of all ages to learn about pond ecology and the food chain at Edgewood Park’s Duck Pond. The program is complemented with a tour of the ranger station, including displays of native and non-native inhabitants. For more information contact the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028.

    Pond Exploration

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    Nature Pals Playgroup

    Explore the wonders of nature with your little ones, ages 0-5, at the Edgewood Park Nature Center. This fun, weekly program includes activities, story time, outdoor exploration and a craft project all centering around a different nature theme each week. A snack is also provided.

    PDF fileClick here for information and to download the registration form

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    Annual Lighthouse Point Park Migration Festival

    The Migration Festival will be held each year in autumn, check the monthly calendar for dates . Join the New Haven Parks Rangers, Connecticut Audubon Society and the Connecticut Butterfly Association for a Celebration of Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies. For more information contact the East Rock/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086.

    Hawk

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    Kayaking

    Our new programs are designed for beginners and for those who have mastered a certain level of maneuvering and paddling skills. In our sit-on-top sea kayaks and sit-in touring kayaks, we travel along the Greater New Haven coastal zones, teaching about equipment, paddling techniques, tidal currents and navigation while allowing for a closer observation of seashore life. Safe paddling is our priority. This includes teaching rescue techniques, the effects of hypothermia, and the wet exit while wearing a spray skirt. Classes, pool clinics and tours are available for 2001. For more information, please call the Outdoor Adventures Coordinator 203-946-6768.

    Kayaking at Lighthouse Point Park
    Kayaking at Morris Creek in Lighthouse Point Park

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    Orienteering

    A great way to learn how to learn how to find your way in the outdoors. A newly designed course at the West Rock Nature Center will also allow participants to learn about map reading, use of compasses and GPS, trail nomenclature, as well as topographical maps. For more information contact the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016 or call (203) 946-6768.

     

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    Snorkeling

    A great way to introduce kids to the sport, in a supervised and controlled environment. This course includes basic instruction in safety, fitting and use of mask fins and snorkel. Participants are allowed to keep snorkel. Available upon request (when pool available). Minimum age is 10 years old. For more information, contact the Outdoor Adventures Coordinator 203-946-6768.

    Snorkling

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    Story Telling

    Environmental stories are told at the Edgewood Ranger Station. These presentations are accompanied by an appropriate craft. Different stories can accommodate children ages 3-7, and grades K-6. For more information, contact the Edgewood Ranger Station at (203) 946-8028.

     

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    Tours of the Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse Point Park Rangers offer this unique program at beautiful Lighthouse Point Park. This historical program includes a climb of the lighthouse to see the majestic view of Lighthouse Point Park, New Haven Harbor and Long Island Sound with New Haven's only public swimming beach. Participants must be able to climb the 65-foot circular granite stairway to the top of the lighthouse brownstone tower. The Lighthouse stands beside the historic restored carousel.

    Originally called Southwest Ledge Light, then Five Mile Point Lighthouse, the current Lighthouse was turned on January 1, 1877. The City of New Haven bought the property in 1924 and opened Lighthouse Point Park. In 1986 the Lighthouse was restored and in 2002 the New Haven Parks Rangers began conducting tours of the facility. For more information, contact the Outdoor Adventures Coordinator 203-946-6768.

    The Lighthouse

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    Geology Walks

    Join our staff and special guests for a series of fascinating walks through the parks. This program is offered at East Rock and West Rock parks. For more information, contact the East Rock/Trowbridge Environmental Center at (203) 946-6086, or the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

     

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    Ropes Course

    By taking on progressively more challenging experiences, participants will learn team building, cooperation, trust, and conflict resolution. Customized challenging hi-low ropes course programs will be offered at the West Rock Nature Center. Available for groups upon request. Activities vary depending on the dates, number of participants and staff required. Note: These activities are not related to Project Pride. For more information, call Wray Williams at the West Rock Nature Center at (203) 946-8016.

    Ropes Course at Camp Cedarcrest

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    Click To Visit Department
    Winterfest at West Rock Nature Center
    Polar Plunge at Lighthouse Point Park
    Canoeing at East Rock Park
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