Stepping Out

Thinking green with some spring in our step

Welcome the season with a salute to Earth Month and Arbor Day


As everyone eagerly awaits for Mother Nature to finally reveal some long-awaited springtime, “Earth Month” culminates with activities that highlight our natural world this weekend. It’s an important reminder to everyone to keep focused on our role in continuing to preserve and protect the environment.

Step into spring at Planting Fields Arboretum’s Arbor Day Festival, one of the many spots to enjoy the season.

Oyster Bay’s Planting Fields Arboretum celebrates the preservation of trees and their importance to our world at the popular annual festival, Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The more than 4,000 trees in the state park are a fitting backdrop to the many activities that appeal to all ages.

Since 1987, Planting Fields has commemorated national Arbor Day with a weekend of fun-filled educational programming and entertainment. This year’s celebration includes plant clinics,tree plantings with Smokey Bear — in which everyone can participate — and tree climbing for the kids, along with free self-guided tours of that grand Gold Coast estate, Coe Hall.

There’s always something for everyone at this family festival: a petting zoo, a concert with Peat Moss & the Fertilizers, nature crafts; the all-important tree planting ceremony, circus shows with members of the National Circus Project, and much more. New this year, Johnny Peers and the Muttville Comix entertain visitors with a slapstick comedy act like no other. Peers leads over a dozen dogs through challenging and hilarious tricks as he plays the straight man role in this entertaining show.

While there, try to stop by Coe Hall, the Tudor Revival estate that was the former home of William R. Coe and his family. Guests can sample the formal lifestyle of the 1920s and see the stunning craftsmanship and impressive collections of furnishings, paintings, stained glass, and decorative arts.

For information call (516) 922--9210 or visit

Old Westbury Gardens also salutes Arbor Day, as signs of spring burst forth with the first glimpses of the season’s colors. The renowned estate embarks on another season ready to delight visitors with its glorious gardens and a busy schedule of programs and activities.

The first signs of the season are beginning to appear throughout the 200 acres. Cherry blossoms, always a favorite this time of year are visible, along with fruit trees and other trees and shrubs that will soon bloom in an array of delicate colors. Visitors can enjoy it all quietly by themselves or on a guided tour.

Visiting the gardens in April is a special experience, according to Old Westbury Gardens staff. While the weather is still a little brisk, it’s invigorating take walks on the many trails. Visitors can see the last of the wildflowers and tulips ready to open.

In fact, many consider mid-April through mid-May to be one of the prettiest times of the year there. Wildflowers and tulips give way to wisteria and lilacs. The absence of leaves on the deciduous trees allows unique vistas and perspectives not available later in the season.

Old Westbury Gardens honors Arbor Day at its annual Tree Dedication Ceremony, on Sunday, at 1 p.m. That’s followed by a Talk and Tour guided walk to examine flowering trees and shrubs, at 2 p.m. Enjoy a 45 minute stroll through the gardens led by master gardener and volunteer docent Regina Watkins.

For more information, contact (516) 333-0048 or visit