Roaring Brook Nature Center

Roaring Brook Nature Center

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As someone who has taken a personal and professional interest in the local fauna and flora, since arriving in Connecticut 5 years ago, it is perhaps surprising that I have been slow to insinuate myself into other elements of the community who support nature.

One such local denizen of the natural world is Roaring Brook Nature Center in the rural outskirts of Canton.

(Until such time as I undertake a photo shoot at the Center, I wish to point out that the images currently used in this article are those already used by Roaring Brook Nature Center in their own page where appropriate credits can be viewed. These images were not taken by me nor do I own the copyright)

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My first contact was a couple of years ago when an injured Purple Finch proved to be beyond my usual rehabilitation services, and Roaring Brook was suggested to me as a suitable nursing home. The Center now provides permanent hospitality to a number of characterful creatures, from owls to turtles.

Only in recent months, did I resurrect contact, when I was having difficulty positively identifying a juvenile hawk. One of my supporters who follow Woodcote Photography’s Facebook page suggested that I contact Roaring Brook as the fount of all knowledge on these matters, which I did – successfully. That in turn led to several further requests for assistance in other identifications, even though bizarrely I never knew with whom I was communicating.

I was sufficiently grateful for mitigating the amount of time I was wasting aimlessly searching the web for identification by image or sound that I offered what little support for the Center that I could, through my own website and Facebook page, which was accepted enthusiastically.

I wanted to understand, from a first person point of view, what Roaring Brook provided to the local community, beyond their obvious knowledge of species, and in just a short period of time it became very clear. I was met by Katelyn Stryeski, a stalwart of 8 years experience with the Center, whose enthusiasm for the organisation, and for nature generally, was almost immediately infectious.

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With Katelyn’s guidance I was quickly able to grasp just how much work had gone into providing an educational platform which appeals to whole families. Not only that, but even in my short 15 minute tour I found myself not only learning about Roaring Brook but also becoming a receptive student of local environmental history.

It seems to me that the Center provides a solid grounding in regional anthropological and natural history, of interest to any adult but uncompromising in the way in which it seeks to inspire and stimulate the minds of children. I was impressed by the set designs and exhibits which allow children to connect with subjects so directly. It is a subjective view point I know, but I still believe that children can absorb more information through genuine interest, and hands on involvement, in the subject than they do via “bribery” with, and subliminal learning from, technological toys.

It is important to note here that Roaring Brook is providing not only a means to understanding the natural development of this region, and supporting nature and its conservation, but it is also providing a valuable social amenity to the community. There seem to be plenty of events and activities – natural historical, cultural and social – organized by the Center which encourage the participation of adults and children alike.

Of course, like so many such organizations, which are born of vocational interest and social altruism, they walk a financial tightrope, being dependent upon grants and donations. Yet it is so easy for us to take their existence  for granted. As a wildlife photographer I have an affinity for the diversity of raptors in Connecticut, and Roaring Brook currently house a number of them which, for various reasons, are not suitable for release. The Center is currently looking to improve the accommodation for these wonderful birds, and I am very happy to add my encouragement to people to support the funding for this project.

Whilst the raptors are a particular draw to me, there are plenty of other creatures of interest whose fortunes have led them into the tender care of Roaring Brook, following injury or illness.; even exotic  animals which have become unwanted pets are included in the diverse menagerie which the Center provides a home to.

All in all, Roaring Brook provides a safe, comfortable and inspiring environment for both animals and humans.

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I hope to return, with camera in hand, in the near future, to spend more time exploring the exhibits, the creatures in their care and the myriad woodland trails extending through some 165 acres. As I do so I will hopefully publish images and observations to help further pique local public interest in the raptors’ future, and the work of the Center generally.

In the meantime, why not go and check out Roaring Brook’s own website and get a better understanding of how you, your family and, above all, the local wildlife can benefit from the Center’s dedication.

I urge you and your families to take advantage of this valuable local facility, and at the same time perhaps consider making some sort of voluntary or financial contribution to allow Roaring Brook Nature center to flourish and continue its important work.

 

 

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