ARMN volunteer Mary McLean serves as a park steward for Tuckahoe Park, a 12-acre Arlington park on North Sycamore Street that adjoins Tuckahoe Elementary School.
by Mary McLean
For me, Tuckahoe Park is my ARMN invasive-plant-removal service project, the place I walk my dog, and my respite. For Arlington children and families, Tuckahoe Park is a “destination” playground. One of its cool features is the spider web pyramid. I haven’t tried it, but it looks like fun to me.
If you venture into the park’s woods, you’ll find a trail that leads to much more fun and adventure. On the school side you’ll pass a National Wildlife Federation habitat, an amphitheater, and then the pair of tennis courts that are newly refurbished. Beyond that are two projects undertaken by local Eagle Scout candidates: one helps visitors identify trees and the other is a restoration of native plants in the park’s Grow Zone.
The mulch trail near the Sycamore entrance marks the beginning of the Nature Trail. Follow it for signs designed by an Arlington naturalist about 15 years ago. The signs give background information on the ecology of the park. They’ll tell you about the watershed, park restoration, interesting insects, and much more if you take the time to read them. You’ll notice that one of the signs designates Tuckahoe Park as an Audubon at Home Certified Wildlife Sanctuary.
A visit to Tuckahoe Park can be good for your health. Among the benefits of time spent in the woods are stress-relief, a boost to the immune system, a better mood, improved self-esteem, increased physical fitness, improved memory and attention, and creative inspiration. The notion of the therapeutic value of a walk in the woods appeared in a recent Washington Post story on the Japanese practice of “forest bathing.” You might want to check it out. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/09/14/how-tech-workers-are-turning-to-the-japanese-practice-of-forest-bathing-to-break-their-smartphone-habits/)
So treat yourself to a visit to Tuckahoe or any Arlington park. You’ll still find native flowers in bloom to enjoy right now and within weeks, you’ll be able to enjoy nature’s palette of autumn leaves.