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Newly Restored Interactive Nature Center Opening in June

A man installs a a wooden ledge on a mural in a room under construction

GROTON, Vermont - Vermont Parks Forever (VPF), Vermont State Parks, and ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain teamed up to restore the Groton Nature Center as part of VPF’s Natural Connections program. The admission-free nature center will feature interactive learning opportunities that highlight local geology as well as Groton’s natural and cultural history.

The Groton Nature Center is the first to be restored through the Natural Connections program, with all interpretive design and displays funded by Vermont Parks Forever. All are welcome to the grand re-opening event set for June 11th! Reconstruction of the nature center was funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This dynamic partnership between Vermont Parks Forever, ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, and Vermont State Parks will continue to provide new educational opportunities in Vermont’s state parks to honor the state’s natural spaces.

“We prioritized the restoration of the Groton Nature Center because it serves as the education hub for 7 area state parks and visitors don’t have to pay an entry fee to enjoy the center,” said Sarah Alberghini Winters, Executive Director of Vermont Parks Forever. “The new educational resources in the nature center help us further our mission to provide innovative experiences that foster responsible stewardship and appreciation of land, water, and other natural resources.”

The Natural Connections program brings together the educational design experience of ECHO, the natural history expertise of Vermont State Parks personnel, and the fundraising efforts of Vermont Parks Forever. The goal is to inspire a new generation of environmental stewards by building deep, life-long connections to nature. Spending time in the outdoors leads to documented physical, mental, and social benefits. By providing park access to communities underrepresented in the outdoors and funding park enhancements, Vermont Parks Forever helps provide outdoor experiences that all visitors can enjoy and benefit from.

More information about the Natural Connections program can be found on the Vermont Parks Forever website. For timely updates on the launch of the Groton Nature Center, subscribe to Vermont Parks Forever’s newsletter.

About Vermont Parks Forever: Vermont Parks Forever is the nonprofit foundation for Vermont’s 55 state parks. VPF was founded in 2013 to enhance and protect Vermont’s state parks by inspiring stewardship of natural places, providing educational experiences, and improving access for those who would otherwise be unable to experience all the benefits the state parks have to offer. Visit to learn more.

About ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain:

ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain is an innovative science and nature museum located on the Burlington Waterfront. Open daily, ECHO encourages visitors to view the natural environment as part of their neighborhood and to explore, learn about, and consider opportunities for stewardship. 2024 will mark ECHO’s 30 years of teaching more than 3 million visitors about the role of science in our culture and lives. ECHO leverages its unique setting to inspire and engage families in the joy of scientific discovery, wonder of nature, and care of Lake Champlain. Visitors explore over 100 interactive family experiences, 70 live species, seasonal changing exhibits, and our Northfield Savings Bank immersive 3D Theater. ECHO has been reinvented by all new permanent and highly interactive STEM exhibits, Awesome Forces and Engineer It!. Visitors of all ages tackle daily engineering challenges at our tinkering bench and test zones as well as delight in discovering the amazing processes that have shaped the Lake Champlain Basin and our Earth. To learn more about ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, visit:

About Vermont State Parks: Vermont State Parks provides environmental education and information and supports the economies and values of local communities. Additionally, state parks promote, operate, and maintain a large and complex system of conserved lands, as well as both historic and modern facilities that are enjoyed by over 1.1 million visitors every year. They work towards ensuring a safe, welcoming, and inclusive place for our staff, volunteers, and visitors while providing access to some of Vermont’s most beautiful places and stewarding the land for future generations. Plan your Vermont State Parks adventure at


Media Contact:

Sarah Alberghini Winters

Executive Director, Vermont Parks Forever

(802) 917-1719


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