Leonard Schine Preserve & Children's Natural Playground
About Leonard Schine Preserve & Children's Natural Playground
The Land Trusts first preserve, the Leonard Schine Preserve was donated by Ralph Glendinning in 1967 and originally called Twin Bridges Nature Preserve. The preserve was renamed in 1983 to Leonard Schine Preserve. Leonard Schine, one of ALTs founders, was a lawyer who Westport resident Barlow Cutler-Wotton called on to help research and create the Land Trust. Look for some glacial kettles on the eastern portion of the property. Glacial kettles are formed when blocks of ice calve off the front of a glacier and get buried and covered. After the ice melts a hole/depression (kettle) remains.
Natural Playground - This preserve hosts the areas first hands-on natural playground. Officially open in June 2010, the playground, designed for children ages 3-7 and built with natural materials found on the preserve, was inspired by a similar playground at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. It comprises approximately 10,000 square feet in a meadow and has areas for fort building, digging, tea-parties, tower-climbing, trail-walking, stick-stacking, nature collages and more! There is even an elvin village in a tree on the property to inspire your child's imagination. In 2016, we built a bear's den which is a cave built from grape vine, and a giant birds nest which children can add to with sticks. This is a great place to meet for a play date or to bring the grandchildren!
The Natural Playground was voted one of the Top 50 Playgrounds in the U.S. by Early Childhood Education Zone.
All of the play areas have been constructed out of natural materials, primarily red cedar, found natively in the Leonard Schine Preserve, and sticks, logs, saplings, pine cones and acorns collected by a volunteer. Many volunteers built this amazing place through which children and parents will explore nature for years to come.
Family Nature Trail - In 2016 we built a new interpretive nature trail where children can explore at their own speed. Grab a map from the map box (which you can return when you are done) and have your child lead you on a nature discovery tour. We placed 10 larger signs on the trail which will highlight ecological features of the property like a meadow, pond and woodland floor. Children can follow the acorn trail markers on trees. We thought this would be fun. CLICK HERE to learn more about the family nature trail.
Trail Stewards: Walter & Betsy Greene, Pete Wolgast
Directions & Parking:
Located off of Weston Road (Rt. 57 in Westport). Park on Glendinning Road (private road), which is located 1/10 mile North of Lyons Plains Road (before W. Branch Rd Extension). Look for the preserve sign on the right at roadside parking area.
Where is it?
Westport, CT 06880