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Inwood Hill Nature Center reopens 12 years after flooding from Superstorm Sandy

Rangers have moved back in and can now host visitors again after the center was closed for over a decade.

Edric Robinson

Jun 6, 2024, 11:17 PM

Updated 16 days ago


Twelve years after Superstorm Sandy caused flood damage, the Inwood Hill Nature Center has reopened its doors to the public.
Rangers have moved back in and can now host visitors again after the center was closed for over a decade.
Urban Park Ranger Sgt. Rob Mastrianni said, “We have a lot to see here - our main exhibits aren’t ready yet, but we have some fun stuff for kids.”
The nature center was rebuilt with $5 million in funding from FEMA and the city. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy's floodwaters caused significant damage, with the facility taking on about 5 feet of water.
“I was the first person here after Hurricane Sandy happened - you could see the water level by a line on the wall, it was about where my eyeballs are. Tanks had floated around with animals in them,” recalled Urban Park Ranger Mara Pendergrass.
Fortunately, no animals were harmed during the flooding. The new space is now flood-resilient, with utilities on the roof and raised outlets. The animals are back too.
Mastrianni noted, “We have a tortoise, we have a snake which is a big hit with the kids in the neighborhood, and a couple different types of turtles.”
The center will again host workshops and educational programs for the whole family to enjoy. These programs are currently available on weekends and include activities such as hiking and observing wildlife around the salt marsh, where visitors can spot ducks and egrets.
One notable feature is the replica of a traditional Lenape home, called a wigwam, in the center’s backyard.
“We’re usually able to fit about 14 kids in here - they get to sit down and see what it looks like to be inside of a wigwam. Teachers love it, the families love it,” said Tyreek Morris, Urban Park Ranger.
To learn more about the programs and events, you can visit the Parks Department website.

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