Back to the Garden:  Nature’s Role in Human Health, Child Development & Resilience

Friday May 3, 2019    9:00 am – 5:00 pm

A one-day conference at Black Rock Forest Lodge, Cornwall NY 

Registration is open now at      Lunch and refreshments are included in the $40 registration cost.  
Please join us for an exciting conference at the Forest Lodge in the Black Rock Forest, a 4,000 acre research, education and recreation preserve.  Cornell University environmental psychologist Nancy Wells, the founder and Director of Strawtown Studio, artist and educator Laurie Seeman, and other speakers will talk about nature’s benefits for human health, children’s development and well-being, emotional resilience, learning and social connections.  Kerry Kopf and Amanda Merritt, senior educators in the Young Naturalists pre-school program at the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, which neighbors the Black Rock Forest at their Outdoor Discovery Center at Kenridge Farm, will describe a day in the life of a young naturalist.  This program is designed for educators, planners, and others working on connecting people to nature, supporting children as they grow and explore the world, and others working on health and wellness, community development, sustainability, and landscape design and conservation.  Michael Newhard, the Mayor of the Village of Warwick, will describe how the Railroad Green pocket park led to revitalization of a core part of the Village’s downtown, and speak on the importance of parks and green spaces for building stronger social connections.  Environmental planner Simon Gruber, the founder of Growing Green Cities, will give an overview of forest and green space benefits for water, air quality, energy and climate resilience to introduce the day.  We’ll discuss examples including school gardens and nature play areas for pre-K and older children, and hear about outdoor journeys for military veterans sponsored by the Sierra Club Military Outdoors program from Lindsey Melki, a West Point graduate, Army veteran and Blackhawk helicopter pilot.  Alan Levin from Sacred River Healing, a licensed marriage and family therapist who integrates psychotherapy with ecopsychology perspectives, will speak about the value of nature experience for healing and rites of passage.  
For more information contact Simon at or 845-534-5622.  
Please visit the registration link above for more information, and more conference materials will be posted soon at  This program is sponsored by Growing Green Cities, a project of the Open Space Institute, with a generous grant from the Wright-Ingraham Institute and support from the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum and SunCommon.  Tax-deductible donations to support this work will be gratefully accepted – please visit this page, scroll down to the Donate link, and be sure to write “Growing Green Cities” as the organization name for receiving donations:
Lodging Availablility 
Overnight Lodging is available in the Black Rock Forest Lodge for this event - bunk bed style - $40/night. (For Thursday or Friday night)  Inquire here.

Tuesday, May 7th

Invaders in the Forest

Black Rock Forest's 30th Anniversary Benefit Luncheon 

Christopher J. Elliman
 President and CEO of the Open Space Institute
with the William T. Golden Award for innovative leadership in science and science education. 
Keynote Speaker
Julie L. Lockwood, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University
The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, May 7th at the Metropolitan Club of New York.The event is hosted by Luncheon Co-Chairs  David and Jeannette Redden and Hume R. Steyer and Nanahya C. Santana.
Invaders in the Forest is an invitation-only event for friends and supporters of Black Rock Forest. Space is limited. To inquire about attending (tickets start at $250.00), please contact Brienne Cliadakis (or call 845-534-4517 ext. 26). To make a contribution in support of the benefit, DONATE HERE.

Birding by Ear 

Saturday, June 1st -  RSVP to Join Us
Date: Saturday, June 1
Time: 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM
Hike Leader: Terryanne Maenza-Gmelch, Ph.D. (Barnard College, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science) 
What to Bring: Walking/hiking shoes, drinking water, tick/insect repellent recommended. 
Details & Arrival Instructions: An email will be sent before the event to registered participants.
Cost: $10.00 per person, payable in advance. Free to Friends of the Forest.
RSVP to join us for our annual birding workshop – our most popular event so register early! During an easy to moderate walk in Black Rock Forest, participants will learn or hone skills in bird identification by sight and ear and will learn about habitats of different species. Space is limited and RSVP's are required. Ages 12 and up are welcome on the walks. 
RSVP to or 845-534-4517 


Black Rock Forest/Highlands 

11th Biennial Research Symposium

Monday June 24nd, 9:30 AM to 4 PM
Hosted by Black Rock Forest 
In partnership with
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission
Current research projects on a range of Biology, Ecology and Environmental Science topics will be presented in a series of 15-minute talks during both morning and afternoon sessions. Research posters will also be on display.
Location: Black Rock Forest Science Center and Forest Lodge
239 Reservoir Road, Cornwall, NY
Contact:  or 845-534-4517 
(To present a talk, poster, or to attend.)