Someone needs to teach Governor Paterson that New York State is 54,556 square miles and not just the 469 square miles that make up New York City. Does he know that New York State has over 3 million acres of forest preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills? How about that New York State has tons of wildlife, including endangered species such as the Golden Eagle, Cougar, and the Gray Wolf? He might have learned all this if he had ever visited Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne, NY.
Paterson hasn’t visited Rogers, though, and that means he doesn’t care if the center closes. Which is why, come December 2010, Rogers Center will be closed to the public and employees will be laid off. Why would Paterson close such a beloved place in upstate NY? Budget cuts, he says. We must start to close the $315 million budget gap. To Paterson, nature is not important, nor is upstate NY.
This isn’t the first time Paterson has wanted to shut down nature. He tried to close many parks and failed. Many have remained open thanks to the fighting masses upstate that raised their fists and shouted, “We live in New York, too!” It’s time to fight again and this time for Rogers Environmental Education Center.
Rogers, as it is lovingly called by anyone who has been there, has been open since 1968. There isn’t a single person living anywhere near Sherburne that hasn’t been there, it seems. Most Rogers fans start out by seeing the place during a school trip. Later, they take their families, friends, and loved ones to show them the small, but beautiful, place. Over the years, generations have shared the land. Everyone has stories about their trips to Rogers. There could be entire books written on adventures at Rogers Environmental Education Center.
Those who don’t know Rogers might ask a few questions. Why should the center remain open? What purpose does it hold that money should keep flowing to the small conservation center and not somewhere else? The public doesn’t pay to enter the park, so why should the employees get paid when the center makes no money itself? Why should Paterson, and everyone else, care for the little environmental center in Sherburne, NY?
What matters to most politicians in NYC is that they have their high-rise apartments and their wine. Most of them have only seen a cow when it is sliced and medium rare on their dinner plates, let alone seen an animal in the wild. Their idea of wildlife is the squirrel in the potted tree on the sidewalk. Rogers Environmental Education Center has held on to the fact that nature is important. The center has taught children for years that our homes, cities, towns, and our entire lives, were built on our state’s natural land. That much of our everyday living depends on our environment’s survival. Take away that knowledge and what do we have? Nothing except a mad dash to find a new planet to live on. Who will get the first seats on the spaceship?
Is that too harsh? Oh well. It’s just one person’s(or more?) belief that taking a walk in the woods is a wonderful way to spend a day. Rogers Environmental Education Center is one of the few remaining hopes that we can still teach our children that nature is amazing. That we need it. One of few places we can take our children once we manage to pry the cell phone and computers out of their hands. Better yet, let them Twitter(Tweet, whatever) about Rogers and all that they learned and saw there. Tell your friends on Facebook that Rogers is a fun place to learn when learning is usually never much fun at all. Tell our sore loser Governor that we beat him before and we’ll do it again. We’ll send him packing without having achieved any of his underhanded goals. Then, close the computer and head to Rogers for a nice walk.
Visit the Facebook page created to try and save Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne, NY. There are plenty of addresses and e-mails listed for government officials for you to harass. Just keep it legal, folks. While toilet paper and eggs might sound like a fun idea, think of the environment.
Save Rogers Conservation Center
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Dec.ny.gov
Murphy, Tyler. State to close Rogers Education Center, The Evening Sun