Thacher Nature Center turning 10

Year-round site of fun and learning to hold special celebration

In July of 2001, a unique new hub for natural conservancy and education opened up on the Helderberg Escarpment. This coming weekend, the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center will celebrate its 10th birthday as a bigger, better and more active community resource than ever.

Located next to Thompson's Lake and adjacent to the expansive Thacher Park, the Nature Center gets its namesake from the woman who donated the hundreds of acres of land that is now a recreational and natural icon for the entire Capital District. To celebrate its anniversary, the Nature Center will be holding a full day of activities and fun on Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

The event is to be 10 years almost to the day from the date the Nature Center was first opened. Emma Treadwell first made a gift of the land that became John Boyd Thacher State Park in 1914. In a later donation of lands along Thompson's Lake, she stipulated that 10 acres be set aside for the Albany Boys' Club summer camp.

That land later became the site of the Nature Center. Fred and Martha Schroeder in 1999 funded the construction. Fred was a part of running the summer camp and the couple wanted to see the area live on as a place for children to enjoy nature. He died about a year-and-a-half ago.

On Saturday, a dedication to the Fred Schroeder Memorial Trail will be held at noon.

Fred was an avid hiker, he led hikes for different hiking clubs pretty much every weekend, said Nature Center Director Nancy Engel. "He was integral in developing the trails in that section of the park."

Engel has been a part of the Nature Center since before shovels went into the ground. She's seen it grow from a small outpost to a thriving educational and environmental hotspot. The center was recently voted the "No. 1 Place to Take Kids in the Capital Region" in an online survey by KidsOutandAbout.com.

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