Rediscovering Nature

Quogue Wildlife Refuge

When you’re outdoors — in your yard, your garden, on the deck or patio, at a park, at the beach — take a minute to notice the world around you. Look at the flowers in a garden and take in their colors — get up close and breathe in their fragrance, really look at an individual flower, see its different parts. If you love orchids, look at them closely — the patterns inside them are visible to the insects that pollinate them in nature, and the patterns direct them toward the pollen. When you’re at the beach take some time to just watch the waves rolling in, again and again, listen to the sounds of the surf and the seagulls, watch as the little plovers and sandpipers run on the beach before the waves come in. 

At the end of a beautiful day, watch the sun go down and notice the sunset colors in the sky and how they change. Go outdoors at night and look at the moon. Learn some constellations — the big and little dippers. The signs of the zodiac scroll across the southern sky, though they no longer align with their calendar dates — we see the constellations Scorpio and Sagittarius, for example, in the summer instead of November and December when birthdays under those signs occur.

Take a walk in a nature preserve — there are quite a few on the East End. In our increasingly fast paced and fractured lives, when we spend so much time online, staring at our screens, taking some time to rediscover the natural world around us can provide a reset, a break from the never-ending stresses of daily life. Especially over the past couple of years with all the new Covid variants that kept us wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart, it’s time to enjoy the longer days and milder temperatures as the world springs back to life around us. 

Here are some places to go, and groups to follow and join. Check out their websites. You might want to attend their programs and activities, and maybe volunteer to help out at some events.

The Nature Conservancy
142 Sag Harbor Turnpike, East Hampton
Properties to visit include Center for Conservation, Accabonac Harbor, Grace Estate, Sagg Swamp Preserve

South Fork Natural History Museum & Nature Center
377 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Tpke, BH
A natural history museum with events and programs for kids and adults, indoors and outdoors.

Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons
This group of dedicated gardeners and horticulturists present monthly lecture programs by luminaries in the horticulture field at the Bridgehampton Community House (virtually during Covid) and maintain a library and a garden there.

Southampton Rose Society
Visit their beautiful rose garden at the Rogers Memorial Library, and look for the four other gardens they’ve created and maintain to beautify the village.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Miles of nature trails in the refuge are open from dawn to dusk every day of the year. Outdoors you can see animals they care for that have been injured and cannot be released into the wild. There are summer camps for kids, and school programs.

Bridge Gardens Trust
A 5 acre public and demonstration garden is open to the public 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm. Multi-purpose, multi-disciplinary outdoor classroom, demonstration garden and community resource with educational and recreational programs.

LongHouse Reserve
Sculpture museum and outdoor art installations surrounded by 16 acres of gardens, founded by Jack Lenor Larsen. Programs, events and beautiful grounds to explore.

LongHouse Reserve

On The North Fork:

Landcraft Garden Foundation
Their mission is to inspire, educate and promote gardening, horticulture and the preservation of the environment. Opens for season Friday, May 6 and Saturday May 7, 10am – 4pm.

The Gardens at Beds and Borders
This plant nursery also has beautiful gardens to inspire you.

Peconic River Herb Farm
This family-run farm is located on the banks of the river and features a great selection of plants both ornamental and edible, a charming shop, and programs.