Minna Anthony Common Nature Center celebrates 50 years

Minna Anthony 50th

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Wellesley Island nature center is celebrating half-a-century. While the center has changed over the years, it’s message has stayed the same.

For 50 years, the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center has been teaching people all about nature.

The center was dedicated on August 14th, 1969, on the front terrace where a plaque still sits to commemorate the day.

“It was really a visionary effort to get this thing established 50 years ago,” said Jane Arras, a board member of the Friends of the Nature Center.

Wednesday, exactly 50 years later, the nature center celebrated its golden anniversary with a cake cutting and a line up of activities for hundreds of visitors.

“It’s cool to see all the stuff around here. When you get to go see the butterfly house and everything,” said Peyton Waite, a visitor.

The nature center is one the oldest in New York, but you wouldn’t know it. It recently went through a transformation, getting new exhibits and facility improvements. It’s grand re-opening was last year.

"What we wanted to do with the nature center is upgrade it and bring it into the next century. Kids now a days are used to touch screens and I phones and we wanted to have a little bit of technology incorporated into the nature center,” said Matthew Elliott, president of the Friends of the Nature Center.

The center focuses on “the web of life” with interactive exhibits that take visitors through woodlands to wetlands and the river.

The goal is to teach people about nature and then get them to go out and walk the eight miles of trails and see it first hand for themselves.

While the exhibits have changed over the last 50 years, what they’re teaching here has stayed the same.

“Even though nature’s always changing,” said Elliot, "the concept of nature is still the same and the things that they were talking about 50 years ago, are still the things we’re talking about today.”

50 years. A milestone, but they’re not slowing down anytime soon.

“We’re very excited that we made it to 50 years," said Arras, “and we’re looking forward to the next 50.”

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