Gifts are an expression of affection, and meant to bring enjoyment. Gifts that also help support and grow that source of enjoyment are among the most delightful to receive.

The gift of a membership to an organization is also a heck of a good value. Besides keeping the fan posted on upcoming events, there are perks like discounted, or even free event admission, upgrades, members-only events, product giveaways, and reduced pricing at affiliated shops or sponsors. For families with young children-you just cannot go wrong.

Here are some local favorites that do a great job of elevating us all.

Teatown Lake Reservation  is an 800+ acres of nature preserve and education center, centrally located in Ossining, minutes off the Taconic Parkway, Route 134 exit. They offer a non-stop calendar of events; hands-on and family friendly-to specialty hikes and workshops, many free of charge.

Advocates of nature-friendly living, and steward to the land,  Teatown is a treasure-you have to go to their website to believe all they offer.

A big favorite is their their annual EagleFest: an annual celebration of American Bald Eagles, as they return to the Hudson Valley; it’s for Sat 2/5.

Individual memberships are $35.00 (Students/Seniors) to $50.00, and $75.00 for Family.

WFUV   90.7FM  is a listener-supported public radio, licensed to Fordham University for-wow-almost 60 years. They feature contemporary/alternative music of every stripe, lots of original programing,  NPR news and and have some of the most engaging hosts on the New York airways-names we have grown up with-Dennis Elsas, Darren DeVivo, Pete Fornatale, and Vin Scelsa’s Idiots’ Delight-running now 35 years.

My husband Doug never met a style of music he didn’t like, this station is a favorite. Membership was a great anniversary gift for him a few years back, this program has especially generous member perks and programs.

Basic membership is $60.00 and has several different levels, with thank-you gifts that escalate in value as the membership level rises.

Have written about museums before; very little can shake a funk, or inspire me like a stolen few hours learning about a time, idea, style or artist.

Hudson River Museum  is one of my favorites for several reasons: it’s in a contemporary structure, joined to a great old house, right on the Hudson River. Maybe 15 minutes away, lots of free parking, they have a quality  regular programs, a genuinely interesting schedule of shows and events, great gift shop and OHYES, there’s the planetarium. Seeing the seasonal night skies is such a change of pace fun adventure.

Unlimited free admission, then there is FWMA…Fairfield-Westchester Museum Alliance. Short story is that membership to one gets you free admission to the other seven. For a whole year. REALLY.   $25.00-35.00 for Seniors, $50.00 for dual adults, $60.00 for a family.