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June 5, 2013

Nature Club brings outdoor fun in

PLATTSBURGH — The Nature Club at Meadowbrook Healthcare offers a place for residents to learn and express themselves through wildlife and art.

Marian Atkinson, a receptionist at Meadowbrook and the creative mind behind the Nature Club, coordinates the arts and crafts as well as the wildlife that comes to the facility each month.

“She brings these little techniques that just wow the residents every month,” said Laurie Marvin, community relations coordinator at Meadowbrook.

For a few years now, Atkinson has been entertaining residents by wearing unusual hats to each meeting, as well as by bringing in wildlife and other creatures, and a crafty project.

“When I do the Nature Club, it’s to bring the outdoors inside to the people who can’t get out anymore,” Atkinson said.

She said she thought the residents would enjoy the opportunity to be with nature, especially since many of them have spent a lot of time in the Adirondacks.

In the past, residents were able to see and learn about an owl and a sugar glider. The club has also brought in rabbits, puppies and cats, as well as a fox from the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

In the future, she has plans for raptors and miniature horses to visit.

“I’m always out in the woods with my camera and always painting wildlife,” Atkinson said. “If I couldn’t do it, I’d be devastated.”

Residents enjoy working on crafts as well, as Atkinson isn’t able have an animal come to every meeting. They’ve created Mardi Gras masks, bowls made with yarn and glue, pinecone wreaths for the holidays and mailboxes for their rooms.

“Someone donated all these flowers (in the past) … and we did a still life of the bouquet,” Atkinson said.

At the last meeting, Sydney the cockatoo from the Animal House Pet Shop in Plattsburgh visited club members while they each painted a cockatoo drawn by Atkinson.

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