Stewart’s Shops contributes $250 to the effort, designed to honor Army Lt. Col. Jaimie E. Leonard of Warwick
The Warwick Historical Society has received a $250 grant from Stewart’s Shops Holiday Match Program for the enhancement of a Nature Play Area at Baird’s Tavern.
The Warwick Historical Society is partnering with HERoes in Deed to install a nature play area at Baird’s Tavern, which is located on Main Street in the Village of Warwick. Baird’s Tavern is one of 12 properties owned by the society.
HERoes in Deed is inspired by the memory of Army Lt. Col. Jaimie E. Leonard, a Warwick High School student and West Point graduate who was killed in Afghanistan on June 8, 2013. Her drive to make the world a better place is the force behind the organization’s mission.
Leonard’s sister, Liz Harman, who is president of the Board of HERoes in Deed, identified this project as one her sister would have supported and that it would honor her memory in an appropriate manner.
The benefits of nature and playExtensive research has been done on the benefits of Nature Play with children as well as the benefits of nature with veterans. Veteran’s dealing with PTSD have found that connecting with nature is an effective and highly positive practice that allows for moments of peace that are sometime hard to find. The calming effects of nature can provide mental health improvements as well as physical improvements that can benefit veterans by easing systems of PTSD along with depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
Some of the many benefits of a Nature Play Area for children are:
• Supports creativity and problem solving;
• Enhances cognitive abilities;
• Improves academic performance;
• Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder symptoms;
• Increases physical activity. Children who experience diverse natural settings are more physically active, more aware of nutrition, more civil to one another and more creative;
• Improves eyesight;
• Improves social relations. Children will be smarter, better able to get along with others, healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-of-doors;
• Improves self-discipline; and
• Reduces stress. Green plants and vistas reduce stress among highly stressed children.
A secondary goal of this nature area is to help create young stewards of the land by raising an awareness of the benefits of nature.
Contributions to make this happenThe design for the Nature Area was created as an in-kind service by a Landscape Designer from the N.Y.C. Parks System. Local landscaper Rich Valentino has committed his services at no cost.
A project coordinator has been identified from the local veteran community to oversee the project and the VFW has offered to recruit volunteers from its membership to assist with the creation and maintenance of the area.
“The grant from Stewart’s Shop will help the us move forward in the creation of the Nature Area which we hope to have open this spring,” said Lisa-Ann Weisbrod, executive director of the Historical Society.
For more information, call 845-986-3236 ext. 106 or visit www.whsny.org.
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