Nature center breaks ground on education farmhouse

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center (SM&NC) is expanding for the first time in 50 years.

The Stamford Museum & Nature Center (SM&NC) is expanding for the first time in 50 years.

The 118-acre organization, which embraces the arts, natural and agricultural sciences and history, broke ground Oct. 2 on a 4,000-square-foot Environmental Educational Farmhouse. It will include an indoor gathering space for nature and agricultural study, an overlook terrace with views of SM&NC’s landscapes and the pastures of Heckscher Farm, a large, multipurpose room and a mobile teaching kitchen. Enrichment programs will be offered throughout the year for school-aged children, campers and families alike.

The farmhouse will also be used for the SM&NC’s Aligned-With-Our-Schools Program, which offers onsite field trips and in-school visits as educational options. Since its inception, the program has increased 300 percent, serving 33,350 children with such seasonal activities as drawing maple syrup, making apple cider, caring for animals in winter and understanding nature’s life cycles. During the expansion, the maple sugar and cider houses will be reconstructed and relocated, with the objective being an additional 13 percent growth in programming.

SM&NC also plans to expand its observatory with an 8,000-square-foot Astronomy and Physical Science Center. The center’s three floors will house a full-size planetarium auditorium, a science lab and an outdoor viewing deck with steps leading to a 40-foot aluminum dome that will contain a 22-inch research telescope. The center will also serve as a location for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, astronomy and math) education.

The projects are being made possible by “The Campaign for Future Generations,” created by SM&NC. To date they have cost $15 million, more than one-third of which has already been raised.

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— Danielle Renda


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