2005 Spring Season

Litchfield, CT -- Contact: Janet L. Serra For Immediate Release 860-567-4506 lhcvbnwct@aol.com When the warm days of spring bring the urge to get outdoors, the nature centers of Northwest Connecticut promise great ways to greet the season. More than a dozen centers in the region have easy nature trails leading the way to woods and wetlands bright with profusions of spring wildflowers, and ponds where ducks and geese have returned to start their families. Overhead, the songs of robins and other songbirds twitter a springtime serenade. Many centers offer guided walks and most have indoor centers with nature exhibits. Since nature centers are free or moderately priced, they make ideal family outings. At the largest sanctuary, the White Memorial Foundation and Conservation Center in Litchfield (860- 567-0857), 35 miles of trails lace the 4,000-acre nature preserve. A Spring Wildflower Walk scheduled at 2 p.m. on April 30 will lead the way to coltsfoots, bluets, trillium, marsh marigolds, yellow trout lilies and other colorful early blooms. Walks to spot birds and identify trees are also scheduled and the center's newly expanded Nature Museum has unique exhibits on the history and natural resources of the area, as well as a special Children's Room. Wildflower meadows are a special feature of the Flanders Nature Center and Land Trust (203-263-3711). Walking the award-winning Botany Trail provides the opportunity to view many types of wildflowers as well as rare and endangered plants, and observing the ponds is a lesson on how amphibian life begins. Flanders offers a wide array of family programming from birding to walks to the night sky. A butterfly hummingbird garden and an award-winning wildflower and fern garden grace the center of the 146-acre Ansonia Nature and Recreation Center (203-736-1053), where two and a half miles of trails wind through wooded hills and grassy fields and past a pond, meadows and swamps. An interpretive center is open daily. A wild flower amphitheater is also a main feature at the Westside Nature Preserve in Danbury (203-837-8794). An outdoor laboratory for Western Connecticut State University, the preserve offers an easy dirt trail of less than a mile through a variety of woodlands and wetlands. The region has two special spots for birders, the 600-acre Audubon Center at Bent of the River in the South Britain section of Southbury (203-264-5098) and the 1200-acre Sharon Audubon Center (860-364-0520), both offering guided walks. In addition to eleven miles of trails, the Sharon Center has an exhibit area with live animals and a Children's Discovery Room. The Woodcock Nature Center on the Wilton/Ridgefield border (203-762-7280) also boasts a remarkable variety of birds and is a haven for aquatic life. An Everglades-style boardwalk allows rare access through part of the abundant wetlands nestled in the woods. The Nature Conservancy maintains the 1850-acre Sunny Valley Preserve in New Milford (860-355-3716), where diverse habitats are found on over 10 miles of trails. These are only a sampling of the ways to get back to nature in Northwest Connecticut's unspoiled Litchfield Hills, Waterbury and Housatonic Valley. For a complete list of Nature Centers and other outdoor activities, and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112?-page book to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the area contact: Northwest Connecticut CVB, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield, CT. 06759-0968, call 800-663-1273 or "visit Northwest Connectiucut website!".