The coronavirus has driven us into our homes, away from the fearful madness of the world. Whether fully or partly remote, everyone has been stuck with the same homely issues- no exercise, no socialization, no sports. And while many of our problems are here to stick with us for an unseeable amount of time, there are some we can fix- and getting outside is one of them.
Some people may feel that there is no appealing way to exercise. Quarantined at home, how are we to remain fit, but stay distanced from the world? Perhaps, our dilemma is simple laziness at our feet, or simple bluntness to what must be done to have a healthy life. None of these problems are hard to solve. In fact, there are many things to do, places to go- and some lie just round the corner of that most unvisited backyard! Such is the Binghamton University Nature Preserve.
Our local university hosts this little-traversed area of nature. The school has over 600 acres of undeveloped, natural land in its possession, and has set aside 180 of those for protection and the experience of others. The land encompasses a variety of natural wonders. The marshland is often known as the core of the land; 20 acres (including two marshes), the cozy Harpur Pond, and a overlooking wooden bridge. Most people who go to the Nature Preserve will know this pond scene, for its watery area is most popular. But unknown to those individuals and those who rarely visit the park, there are many other natural sights. The back of the marshland feasts the eyes to a seemingly typical wooden forest, yet having many diverse corners such as the verner pools. On top of everything come the high rising Saddle and Field trails, traversing up around 500 ft to an elevation of 1495 ft and a view over a beautiful field.
Possibly the best thing to do with all the landscape is to simply venture out yourself; a complete list can’t be made of all that is offered. However, it is of note that wherever you go, insight to many hidden wonders will be in your sight- for the pure, undisturbed nature of the preserve allows it to be a natural habitat preserved from hundreds of years ago. In fact, there are hundreds of different species of mammals, birds, and reptiles, including much more than the average deer- porcupines, beavers, coyotes, foxes, and many such land and aqueous creatures, around 200 rarely seen types of birds, such as jays, woodpeckers, owls, cranes, and even eagles, and many reptilian organisms, with a vast array of rare turtles, salamanders, and lizards.
Many of these species might be hard to mind or see (especially the eye-catching coyotes, who tend to fear humans), but a close observation will catch many more than normal. If you wish to venture to the preserve for other reasons, you will be in luck. The magic of the preserve is that the natural landscape is ideal for a venture out of the house into nature, for a unique and calming exercise that can truly be enjoyed, or just a quick, few minute stop (the beautiful marshland is only minutes off the parking!). If a more rigorous walk or hike is what you desire, you can hike up the 500-foot ascent of the little mountain or utilize the many trials for a multi-hourly walk. Either way, the Nature Preserve is an ideal location for anyone, yet often untraveled, only used by the professors and students living close by. Don’t let such an opportunity evade you, for the good of corona-era health and the recognition of one of the most beautiful locations in Broome County and the Southern Tier.