Massachusetts is rich with wildlife and many types of biodiversity. Though it doesn’t seem like it, the city is the perfect place to start learning about the ecosystem of the state. There are countless programs and activities in Boston that focus on nature and outdoor education, and more seem to be popping up each spring. From bird watching to historical walks, Boston has an outdoor program to fit everyone’s interest and education level.
“e” inc. is an environmental science and learning action center for young people. Its goal is to make earth science fun and exciting because children have the power to shape the global future. “e” inc. hosts an in-classroom day program at local elementary schools, an after-school program, workshops and field trips. The program also founded an environmental museum in Charlestown’s Navy Yard. The Navy Yard’s amazing harbor views make it the perfect place for outdoor discovery and indoor exhibit exploration.
The Freedom Trail
One of the most popular tourist destinations, the Freedom Trail combines outdoor learning with American history. The 2.5-mile trail links many historical sites, water views, parks and cultural activities. While the trail is particularly focused on the American Revolution, trail followers will also see Boston harbor, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the Boston Common and the Charlestown Navy Yard (now home to the “e” inc. environment museum).
The Rose Kennedy Greenway
Thankfully, the “Big Dig” is well behind us, and Bostonians are now free to enjoy the Rose Kennedy Greenway where the overpass used to be. The 1.1-mile park in the center of the city (from North Station to South Station along Atlantic Avenue) now hosts all sorts of outdoor activities. In the warm months, there are weekly farmers’ markets, free fitness classes, street performers and plenty of space to picnic. The park is also now home to a carousel that was created to highlight the beauty of local wildlife. Rather than riding unicorns and dragons, children on the carousel choose from animals and insects that are native to the Boston area. What a great way to highlight local biodiversity.
The aptly named Boston Harborwalk is a series of parks and nature preserves along Boston Harbor. It stretches from Chelsea Creek to the Neponset River, through East Boston, Charlestown, North End, Downtown, South Boston and Dorchester – giving visitors access to outdoor areas large and small. Along the parks there are observation points for visitors to really get to know Boston’s waterfront, including its threats. The “Naturally Boston Harbor” brochure that accompanies the Harborwalk describes its plant and animal life and provides historical background. The Harborwalk also connects to new and existing networks of inland trails, which will link the Harborwalk to established parkways and open space networks, including the Emerald Necklace system, the Charles River Esplanade and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
Outdoor education, of course, is not limited to urban areas. Boston University Sargent Center for Outdoor Education in Hancock, New Hampshire and Mass Audubon Society are great suburban and rural destinations for outdoor learning within two hours of Boston.You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.