Take a Seat! DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail Benefits from an Eagle Scout Project
The DCA grounds have been the lucky recipient of two Eagle Scout projects and a Girl Scout Gold Award project over the years. Recently, Darien High School senior Cameron McGraw and his team of other scouts helped enhance our bird sanctuary with Adirondack chairs and a table, as described further below by Cameron. Thank you to DCA volunteer and former board member Mike Sgroe for serving as the DCA liaison.
For my Eagle Scout project, I was given the opportunity to help the Darien Community Association’s Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail. My project consisted of building four handmade and stained Adirondack chairs, and one children’s picnic table. Following a pattern, each piece of wood was cut with a bandsaw. Each piece of the chairs and table were sanded and stained by a team of scouts under my supervision. The second part of the project was assembling everything. Older scouts were able to work on the chairs while younger scouts helped spread mulch and clear the area. It was an honor and a privilege to work with the DCA, and I really appreciate the opportunity.
– Cameron McGraw, Darien Scout Troop 53
Happy 10th Anniversary!
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail celebrated its 10th anniversary and the many people and organizations who have provided their time and support for this serene community asset – created and maintained by volunteers. A reception was held last week in the DCA’s formal garden followed by a “sip and stroll” in the sanctuary. (Pictured left DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail committee members: Barnaby Taylor, Chris Filmer, Sig Buchmayr and Cindy Ryan. Not pictured: Mike Sgroe.)
Enter the Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail is on the DCA Meadowlands property, at 274 Middlesex Road in Darien, CT. The entrance gate is located on the right of the back parking lot. Please enjoy the space passively by closing gates and staying on the trail. In the interest of wildlife, dogs are not allowed. If you require a service dog, please contact the DCA office at 203-655-9050, extension 110.
Hours: open during daylight hours except for scheduled weekend events.
Groups: schedule group visits by calling the DCA at 203-655-9050, extension 110.
Have you read the latest article about the DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail, “Enchanted Wood: The Bird Sanctuary,” in the Darien Neighbors magazine?
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail is currently open to the public and provides nearly four serene acres of shelter, food, water, and nesting sites. Enjoy a leisurely hike along our beautiful trail, appreciate the bird-attracting beauty of native plantings, and enjoy the numerous features:
- rock, native plant and pollinator-friendly gardens
- rope bridge
- insect hotels
- pondless waterfall
- stump and log walks
- rock spiral
- bat boxes
- bird feeders
Our sanctuary is child-friendly and entirely fenced-in.
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail would love for you to come for a visit. We can host preschool classes, summer camp classes and other groups at our sanctuary. Our sanctuary is child-friendly and entirely fenced-in. Here are some beautiful drawings by preschool students who enjoyed visiting our sanctuary.
Click here to view a color map of our DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail and a list of key features to visit.
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail Video
Thank you to The Darien Foundation, and our volunteers shown here in the video: Sig Buchmayr, Chris Filmer, Cindy Ryan and Mike Sgroe.
The DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail was officially opened to the public in the fall of 2014, after several years of extensive work by volunteers clearing invasives, establishing a walking trail, and planting native bushes and shrubs attractive to birds and butterflies. We are grateful for the generous grant support from The Darien Foundation.
Come and experience the DCA’s contribution to open space in Darien! Check out this great source of articles, videos and tips on spending time in nature.
Click to read the Darien Times article about the newest addition to our DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail – “Eagle Scout Debuts Insect Hotels”
“Our class visit was a wonderful experience. The children were able to explore nature in a safe environment which fostered excitement and enthusiasm for the joy of learning. We will be back!”
— Adele Evershed, 3-year-old class teacher, Community Cooperative Nursery School, Rowayton
“Our 3-year-old class loved it! We crossed the bridge many times, looked high and low for bat boxes, and found a garden gnome. Thank you for a wonderful morning.”
— Teresa Cunningham, class teacher, United Church Nursery School, Rowayton
“The 4-year-old classes from Methodist Preschool enjoyed an amazing field trip at the DCA in April. The children were engaged, entertained and taught a lot by the amazing staff. We will be back next spring.”
— Sharon Warde, class teacher, Methodist Family Center Preschool, Darien
“Staff and students alike reported that this was such a great and enriching trip for our students. They had the opportunity to learn about nature, as well as explore and enjoy it!”
— Nehemie Moise, Family and Program Director/Social Worker, Horizons at New Canaan Country School
“An incredibly delightful day of natural exploration, environmental education and outdoor fun.”
—Elizabeth Hearle, Director, St. Luke’s Parish School
DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail History
In the spring of 2012, the DCA Board of Directors decided to revitalize a four acre section of DCA property to create a bird sanctuary for use by the public. Initiated by Darien Land Trust President Chris Filmer, Darien Beautification Commission member Sig Buchmayr, and DCA board member Cindy Ryan, the work effort was supported by a number of volunteers, businesses, and local organizations. An extensive planning period began in which conservation and birding experts were consulted, Audubon Connecticut was commissioned to perform a detailed habitat assessment and offer recommendations, and soil sample analyses were conducted. The hard work then began, as safety tree pruning was carried out, invasive plants were removed, trails were cut and laid, a deer fence was installed, and the first of many native shrubs were planted.
This project would not have been possible with the support of The Darien Foundation, who provided a grant for the deer fencing, native plants, and other features. Continued grant funding in 2018 has supported numerous enhancements to the sanctuary, including a water feature and additional trees.
Click here to see our DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail brochure.
Click here to see our invitation for preschools to visit our DCA Bird Sanctuary and Nature Trail.