It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a camper! Nature center project has kids up in the air

Creatures with feathers aren’t the only ones with a bird’s-eye view of Woodcock Nature Center. Campers are now taking part in the center’s Tree Climb Adventure, hanging out 30 feet up in an oak tree.

The project — officially called the Tree Climb Adventure and Forest Canopy/Wetland Education Study — got a boost recently from the Captain Planet Foundation, which awarded the nature center an educational grant of $2,500. The foundation is an international environmental education organization based on the Captain Planet cartoon.

“The Tree Climb project is something that we’ve been dreaming about for several years,” said Henryk Teraszkiewicz, the center’s executive director. The funding provided by the Captain Planet Foundation, in addition to donated expertise and labor by The Care of Trees professional arborists in Stamford were crucial in bringing the project to fruition, he added, along with local fund raising through the “giving tree” at the center’s Evening Under the Stars benefit in May.

The tree climb project was built on a “four sisters” oak tree off the Woodcock Preserve’s purple trail.

“The project’s tree is an oak with four leaders growing out of a central trunk,” Mr. Teraszkiewicz said. The formation is “perfect to hang an industrial strength cargo net about 30 feet up near the forest canopy, which will allow participants to view and study the forest from that unique location. In addition, the tree’s proximity to the Spectacle Swamp will allow campers, students, and families an equally advantageous view of the wetlands.”

Phase one of the tree climb project was to create the climb using “strap on” style ladders and platforms that are typically used by hunters. Since the climb is much higher than a hunter has need for, all participants will be kept “on belay” with safety harnesses, ropes, helmets and trained climbers, Mr. Teraszkiewicz said.

Phase two of the project includes the installation of an approximately 100-square-foot cargo net platform by The Care of Trees arborists in Stamford to allow for group climbs.