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Give Back NH: Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park

Ryan Owens, executive director (left) and Rick Brackett (right), land manager and GIS specialist, at Monadnock Conservancy and Roberta Royce, Executive Director at Winchester Learning Center, stand in front of the public entrance to the Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park.
Karen Trop
/
NHPR
Ryan Owens, executive director (left) and Rick Brackett (right), land manager and GIS specialist, at Monadnock Conservancy and Roberta Royce, Executive Director at Winchester Learning Center stand in front of the public entrance to the Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park.

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment that spotlights New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Monday during Morning Edition on NHPR.

This week, we're taking a personalized tour of the Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park.

Pathway at the Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park
Karen Trop
/
NHPR
One of a myriad of pathways to explore within the nature park.

"We are normally doing conservation projects of hundreds of acres, way out in the hills, in a deep forest or on big farms around the region, which is still the core of what we do," explained Monadnock Conservancy Executive Director Ryan Owens. "Five years ago, we were interested in and trying to do something a little bit different and maybe take the skills that we had in land management and real estate transactions, but maybe apply it to a different area of opportunity."

That turned into transforming "a three and a half acre kind of overgrown lot on the edge of the village [of Winchester] and create this experience and then see the kids experiencing as if they were deep in the wilderness," he said.

Roberta Royce, the executive director of the Winchester Learning Center, said it's an opportunity to give children a chance to "experience their education."

"It's not like this sitting at a table doing a worksheet," she said. "They're actually getting out here and they're doing so much learning just in this environment."

Royce said the project has had an added benefit: Children who live in a nearby housing development are able to safely travel through the nature park, instead of walking or riding their bikes on Route 10.

"Because it's such a small park, we kind of made it our mission to create experiences," Royce added.

Learn more by listening to the audio postcard above. The Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park is also looking for volunteers to help with maintenance and upkeep, Royce said.

For those interested in learning more about the Monadnock Conservancy, Owens said their website is a great place to start for more information on their work and on other outdoor experiences in the region.

Nature Park Loom at the Winchester Learning Center Community Nature Park
Karen Trop
/
NHPR
Visitors can weave in natural materials they find on the park grounds into the Nature Park Loom.

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