Locally in the beautiful Berkshires, visitors can stroll the grounds at The Berkshire Botanical Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts as they can experience nature one-on-one surrounded by plants and various types of flora, a perfect way to commune with your thoughts. How about heading south of the border as the Litchfield hills in north western Connecticut have a hidden treasure where you can participate in a hike and experience a personal encounter with various types of wildlife which serves as a natural education center for all participants.

I am referring to The Sharon Audubon Center located just off route 4 on Cornwall Bridge Road. This facility has over 2 thousand wooded acres as every visit promises to be a TRUE adventure for all ages. They offer a variety of hiking trails, conservation theme events, animal exhibits and a plethora of nature programs that will truly bring you a personal experience with the great outdoors. This property is also best known as The Emily Winthrop Miles Wildlife Sanctuary.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are some closures at the property including the Center's main building, restrooms and their nature store remain closed to the public. If you plan to attend any of their limited presentation of events, keep in mind masks MUST be worn at ALL times and proper social distancing guidelines will be strictly enforced. Updated information could be obtained by liking and logging on to their Facebook page.

This pristine property is proudly represented by Sharon's National Audubon Society but due to recent setbacks and a lack of funding, the facility was forced to cut staff and future programs, but you can assist in making a donation to keep their doors open. as your donation will return things to a sense of normalcy. You can access this link to submit your contribution as these programs offered bring the community together all across the tri-state region.

Hiking and sanctuary trails remain open from sunrise to sunset. Put on your best pair of walking shoes and consider doing some massive exploring of the property as the amount of mileage and terrain in the hills brings endless possibilities for a consistent discovery of peaks and valleys the Center offers. Youngsters can also take advantage of participating in field trips featuring various environmental education programs.

You can get a complete list of current events and get-togethers by logging on to The Sharon Audubon Center's web site. You'll also find a detailed guide of all trails, a list of all animals, birds and wild life that reside in this natural environment. While on the web site, click the tab where you can plan your very own "Audubon Adventure".

This is truly one of our area's best kept secrets and now it's chance to discover a unique and breath taking outdoor experience located just about a half hour south of the Great Barrington area and a short drive for those in neighboring New York's Harlem Valley. No matter how long the trip, the experience that awaits you in Sharon, Connecticut will be best described in one word: "priceless".

(Some excerpts of this article were obtained by WSBS courtesy of The Sharon Audubon Center's web site www.sharon.audubon.org)

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