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Our History

Celebrating 50 years of outdoor education!

Woodcock Nature Center was founded by a former Ridgefield First Selectman: J. Mortimer Woodcock. Since 1972 Woodcock has grown to provide educational programming for over 4,000 learners of all ages each year including school field trips, our popular summer camp and enrichment programs, which support our educational efforts by immersing the community in direct experiences with nature. We partner with local organizations to present lectures, workshops, and films, and our guided hikes, child and caregiver classes and on-site animal encounters provide a means for the public to engage with and learn from our natural world. In fact, in 2023 Woodcock was awarded the Edith Meffley Award from the Ridgefield Conservation Commission for it's excellence in providing environmental education to the community.

Woodcock’s 152 acres of preserve, originally inhabited by the Siwanog tribe and today owned by the state of Connecticut straddles both Wilton and Ridgefield. The preserve includes historic stone walls and stands of old maple, beech, oak and hickory trees, a pond, wetlands, vernal pools and nearly 4 miles of hiking trails which remain a resource for thousands of hikers, birders and outdoor enthusiasts. Woodcock’s trails, natural playground, nature center, and outdoor aviaries (where we care for ambassador animals including 2 non-releasable birds of prey and nearly 20 reptiles and amphibians) are publicly accessible year-round with no admission fee.

Woodcock Nature Center does not receive any funds from local towns or the state of Connecticut and fundraises privately for every dollar necessary to sustain its programs and facilities ꟷ in fact, 50% of our revenues are from these donations along with special events income. We depend on the generosity of private foundations, corporations and individuals to remain a resource to our community.

Woodcock acknowledges the indigenous tribes of the Siwanog, Ramapo and Katonah who were the first stewards of the land in Wilton and Ridgefield which we strive to continue to learn from, protect and respect.

View our full organizational timeline here (pdf).

Our recent awards and accolades:


  • Wilton Go Green recognized Woodcock Nature Center for it's partnership in promoting sustainability with the Green Community Partner Award in 2024.

  • Woodcock Nature Center was awarded the Ridgefield Conservation Commission's 2023 Edith Meffley Award for service to the Ridgefield Community through its many community programs

  • Woodcock Director of Education Sarah Breznen was awarded the 2023 National Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award by the Garden Club of America (nominated by the Ridgefield Garden Club) this spring for her service to the Ridgefield community through outreach programs, field trips and our partnership with the Ridgefield Conservation Commission

  • Our popular summer camp was voted by the readers of InRidgefield as 2023's"Best Summer Camp in Ridgefield"

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