Working at the nature center has enabled me to introduce a whole new generation to the outdoors. I love seeing students’ eyes grow wide as they discover the wonders of nature. My students have taught me so much as well.
Gail Johnson playing with Rufous, a red fox cub we raised at the nature center.
Roaring Brook Nature Center has an active animal rehabilitation program authorized by state and federal permits. I learned the physical characteristics, behavior, and needs of wildlife. Close-up - many times holding animals in my own hands. The photo shows me playing with an orphaned Red Fox cub, Rufous, we raised one summer before the rabies epidemic hit Connecticut. We were able to release Rufous and his sister Rusty to the wild. Other wildlife we had in our care were Cottontail Rabbits, squirrel (Gray, Red, and Flying), woodchucks, porcupines, opossums, Raccoons, foxes (Red, Gray), Eastern Coyote, White-tailed Deer and in our Bird of Prey program American Bald Eagles, hawks (Red-tailed, Broad-Winged) and Owls (Great-horned, Barred, Screech, Saw Whet). We have raised many species of songbirds, both migratory and non-migratory, and Mallard Ducks.
I am also interested in northeastern Native American cultures. I have been studying the Abenaki language to gain more of an understanding of local Native Americans’ view and respect for nature.
Today, I spend a lot of time walking the Hardwick Trails, sharpening my senses and making new discoveries. During the guided nature walks, I’m focused upon encouraging the development of your innate abilities to find and learn from wildlife and showing you how to protect wildlife for the future.