Grant-funded backpacks to equip nature center hikers

Stonington – Visitors looking to hike the more than 10 miles of trails at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center and Coogan Farm will be able to use specially equipped backpacks provided by a grant from Northeast Utilities, the nature center announced this week.

The $1,500 grant from the utility’s Environmental Community Grant Program paid to outfit four backpacks, each dedicated to a specific genre: plants, birds, insects and nature. Each pack includes field guides, binoculars, compasses, notebooks, pencils, magnifying glasses, nets and other equipment. Visitors to the nature center can “check out” a backpack at no cost by leaving a driver’s license at the front desk.

“This program is designed to encourage people to exercise their minds and bodies on our trails by providing visitors with materials to enhance their visit,” Maggie Jones, executive director of nature center, said. “The materials, which might otherwise be unaffordable to some visitors, will allow families to learn more about the environment together.”

The backpacks are available during regular hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens.

Northeast Utilities’ Environmental Community Grant Program provides community-based groups with funding for local projects that benefit the environment, with the goal of sponsoring local grassroots efforts that are frequently overlooked by large grant programs.

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