Woodcock adds new dimensions to education

This summer, Woodcock Nature Center has taken steps to ramp up the environmental education experience for children in Wilton.

Recently, the nature center purchased a GoPro camera that can capture images of life beneath the water and will give children and their parents at look at the life in the Woodcock Pond.

In addition, Woodcock is building a vertical tree climb course, complete with a canopy to be used for teaching, observation and exploration. The course will offer the opportunity to explore the top of a 60-foot tree while fitted with a safety harness, rope and helmet. The GoPro camera will also be used for a view of a child’s ascent.

Another addition to the Nature Center is a natural playground where younger children can explore their natural surroundings.

“We are very excited to incorporate this technology into our camp and other programs,” said Allison Ericson, the center’s camp and education director. “Our older kids will love documenting their adventures as they explore the outdoors.  … While we have incorporated GPS systems and night vision cameras we have also kept to some fundamental roots such as canoeing, wading, catching frogs and fish and camping. It is amazing how these timeless classics still appeal to kids. I have counselors now that attended camp when they were younger and one of their favorite memories is camping at the Nature Center.”

The Woodcock Nature Center recently hosted best-selling author Richard Louv of the Children and Nature Network who spoke of the importance of getting children outside. In his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, he coined the phrase nature deficit disorder. Today’s children spend less time outdoors than at any time in the past, and have a disconnect to the natural world.

Woodcock Nature Center is free to visit. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic, walking shoes and visit the injured animals including owls, hawks, turtles and snakes cared for at the center.

Information: woodcocknaturecenter.org.