The Nature Center is located between the East Beach and the salt marsh nature trail. During the summer season, staff naturalists, summer interns and volunteer docents offer nature walks, bird watching, lectures, and learning activities for kids. The Nature Center also serves as a base for other activities year round. Our Pollinator Garden, Three Sisters Garden, and a beginner’s disc golf course are adjacent to the building as well as the Purple Martin colony.
Look for large banners welcoming you to the Nature Center when it is open in warmer months.
Nature Center Features & Programming
The Nature Center has live animals, activities, and programs, as well as displays about the area’s history, both human and environmental. There are lectures and family events as well.
In the 1990s, Park Supervisor Glenn Dochtermann turned an unused first aid and lifeguard building near the West Beach into a meeting place for guided field trips. He furnished it with specimens of local wildlife. The Friends of Sherwood Island, shortly after our formation in 1995, officially adopted the Nature Center as a special project and voted to support it as an ongoing commitment, including the eventual addition of a Summer Internship Program.
The original Nature Center was deemed structurally unsound in 2002 and slated for demolition. In response, the Friends vowed to devote all their fundraising efforts to constructing a new one. Our determination was shared by the DEP Parks Division Western Region Supervisor Mark Rickert, who was developing plans for a site overlooking the East Beach.
After years of fundraising and construction the doors of the current Nature Center were opened for the first time in spring 2009. Over 20 years later, The Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park continues to operate as the result of a successful public-private partnership between the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and the Friends of Sherwood Island State Park.