Toys & Training

At Woodcock Nature Middle, studying alternatives are as plentiful as plant and animal species

The sap of candy birch is added to carbonated water to create birch beer soda. River otters can spend as much as eight minutes underwater. Beech nuts had been an vital meals for provider pigeons and helped result in their extinction when the timber had been cleared for agriculture.

Nothing like visiting a nature heart and studying info in regards to the pure world. The Woodcock Nature Middle on the Wilton and Ridgefield line has been educating and showcasing the pure world for guests of all ages over the previous 50 years by summer time camps, outreach applications, hikes and workshops.

The middle was based by former Ridgefield First Selectman J. Mortimer Woodcock, who secured the 150-acre protect from the state. The middle, which is internet hosting a year-long birthday bash celebrating its golden anniversary, manages the protect for the Division of Power and Environmental Safety. “Woodcock is a treasured useful resource with a wealthy historical past,” says heart govt director Lenore Eggleston Herbst.

The protect is a natural-world gem with 4 miles of trails for hikers and birders that go over boardwalks throughout swamps, alongside historic stone partitions and a pond the place frogs hang around on blooming water lilies. The paths go underneath stands of big maple, beech, oak, ash and hickory timber. There’s a nature heart constructing and outside aviaries that embody a pair of non-releasable birds of prey and almost 20 reptiles and amphibians.

Six blazed trails present entry to many of the heart’s acreage. Loads of informational indicators showcase the pure historical past of timber, birds and a very good primer on footprints of animals that dwell on the protect. The orange path is a couple of mile lengthy and passes by the western half of the protect with a brief “highway part.” The path is a simple stroll by a wooded space subsequent to a swamp.

The purple path leads from the doorway parking space to a rocky ridge overlooking the swamp. The trail takes guests throughout a boardwalk bridge crossing the center of a swamp the place dragonflies bounce on pickerelweed. The path passes alongside the protect’s forested northern edge the place hen of the woods fungus grows on the facet of a lifeless tree. The trail winds behind neighboring backyards earlier than crossing a small, picturesque stream.

The pink path winds by the forest alongside previous stone partitions all the way down to the middle’s campus space which incorporates the character heart and aviary, pavilion and workers places of work. The path wraps across the banks of a small pond that features a dock and a pair of Adirondack chairs the place guests can sit and watch fish bounce, water lilies bloom and frogs chirp and croak.

Passing a scenic spillway with a view throughout the pond, the pink path crosses the middle’s entry highway and parking space, and connects to a yellow path which takes guests to a boardwalk and viewing platform into the center of a swamp. The platform is a good place to take a seat and watch birds flit by or soar excessive above. The yellow path strikes by a beech tree glade earlier than mixing into the inexperienced path, which is the rockiest a part of the path system, however continues to be simple to navigate.

The year-long celebration continues with a summer time “Birthday Bash” July 9 and the Aug. 7 launch of a brand new beer labeled for Woodcock by the close by Nod Hill Brewery. An annual fundraiser, “Underneath the Harvest Moon,” will happen in September and launch the middle’s “new visible id and brand.” A 5K and children enjoyable run, “The place the Wild Issues Run,” is slated for Oct. 16.

The mission of the middle is to “creatively join the group with nature and to 1 one other.” 

“It’s actually unbelievable to see how former Ridgefield First Selectman J. Mortimer Woodcock’s easy imaginative and prescient to get children exterior has grown into the group we now have at this time,” says Jana Hogan, president of the Woodcock Nature Middle board.

For a half-century, hundreds of individuals of all ages have handed by the middle on faculty discipline journeys, its summer time camp and enrichment applications or these simply stopping by for a go to and stroll by the pure world. Getting exterior is an easy imaginative and prescient, however one with the best reward. 

Woodcock Nature Middle

Wilton and Ridgefield

The underside line: The protect consists of climbing trails amongst historic stone partitions and stands of previous maple, beech, oak and hickory timber, a pond, wetlands and vernal swimming pools. There’s a nature heart and outside aviaries.

Issue degree: A lot of the trails are simple for all age ranges.

Whole mileage: 4 miles

Instructions: Coming from the south: Take Route 33 North 4 miles from Wilton City Middle and switch proper on Millstone Highway. Take a left on Deer Run Highway and observe for a mile to the middle. Coming from the north: Take Route 102 to Nod Highway. Comply with Nod for 1½ miles to Deer Run Highway. Comply with Deer Run Highway for a quarter-mile to the middle. For a map and listing of upcoming occasions, go to

Pet pleasant? Leashed canines are allowed and have to be cleaned up after.

Issues to do close by 

Weir Farm Nationwide Historic Park

From 1882 to 1919, Weir Farm was the summer time residence of pioneering American Impressionist Julian Alden Weir. With 68 acres providing a beautiful setting to color en plein air, Weir Farm is the one nationwide park devoted to American Impressionist portray. The grounds and car parking zone are open each day from dawn to sundown. Guests can get pleasure from dog-walking, climbing, exploring the historic portray websites with a self-guided tour brochure or creating artwork with their very own provides. 735 Nod Hill Highway, Wilton, 203-834-1896,

Heibeck’s Stand

The eatery and ice cream stand dates again to 1931 when “roads in our neighborhood weren’t paved and bread was 5 cents.” The stand presents premium meals with signature do-it-yourself sauces in addition to all-natural ice cream. The stand notes that the present proprietor’s great-grandmother and great-aunt crafted greater than 100 flavors on the premises from the Nineteen Thirties to the Nineteen Eighties. Flavors rotate each day and are sourced from native small-batch creameries. Menu gadgets embody a dozen completely different sizzling canines from “LA avenue canines” to “Colorado canines,” burgers, lobster rolls, sandwiches and salad bowls. 951 Danbury Highway, Wilton, 203-917-9313,

Nod Hill Brewery

The daddy-and-son crew of David and Robert Kaye caught the brewery bug after a 2008 journey to Austria, and with their good friend, brewer Kyle Acenowr, created Nod Hill in 2017. The trio notes they’ve “strived to craft expressive, balanced and distinctive beers that encourage a spirit of considerate enjoyment.” Brewing hop-forward American ales, historically minded Belgian, German and English types and spontaneous and mixed-fermentation, oak-aged beers, the brewery features a taproom, seasonal biergarten and occasion area. There are each day meals vans and dwell music. 137 Ethan Allen Hwy. (Route 7), Ridgefield, 203-617-1191,

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