Throughout my first spring working at Charlotte’s Quest, I was mesmerized as I watched the park come alive. Of course, the flowers bloomed and the trees sprouted new leaves, all of which is expected but nonetheless magical. Our animal inhabitants made their presence known as they chatted and scurried to prepare for new spring arrivals. Busy bluebird parents tirelessly tended to two hatchlings in the house just behind our interpretive building and were rewarded with their babies’ successful fledging. I was greeted most mornings by baby bunnies exploring the area around the center, venturing out before the park got too loud and busy.

What surprised me the most is how emotional I felt as I watched Charlotte’s Quest come alive with people. A busy schedule of student field trips and community events drew hundreds of visitors this spring.

The quiet fields and empty building of wintertime became warm and inviting, welcoming little explorers to see and touch and experience nature.

The children also seemed to come out of a sort of hibernation as they were once again able to run around in the sun. Excited giggles became a part of the symphony of bird calls as field trip groups marched like lines of ants along the trails. Spring Fest brought the community together for outdoor fun, even on a rainy day. Families nestled under trees for a picnic, a timeless scene that struck me as being all too uncommon in these hectic times. It is important to protect natural areas for the flora and fauna, but I was reminded yet again that people have so much to benefit from time spent enjoying wild places.

Our youngest visitors were so clearly in awe of the world around them, their eyes open to the natural beauty that we often look past as we hustle through our days. There is nothing like the pure sense of wonder on a child’s face as he first encounters a real, live tadpole. Parents couldn’t help but get caught up in the moment as well, excitedly discovering a critter in the pond muck and reminiscing about childhood memories of endless hours spent exploring the outdoors.

At any age, people can gain so much from a simple walk in the woods as they take a moment to connect with nature.

Likewise, the environment stands to benefit immensely from people who love and respect natural places. This is why organizations like Charlotte’s Quest are so important. I hope you will join us this summer as we continue to grow and come alive with new programs for people of all ages.


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