With more than 10 miles of trails to hike at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center and Coogan Farm, there are hundreds of trees, plants, flowers, grasses, birds, insects and more to identify. Thanks to a grant from Northeast Utilities, visitors  can bring along a pack of expertise when they set out on the trails.


The $1,500 grant from the utility’s Environmental Community Grant Program paid for four fully outfitted backpacks, each dedicated to a specific genre: Plants, Birds, Insects, and Nature. Each pack includes field guides, binoculars, compasses, notebooks, pencils, magnifying glasses, nets, and more.

Visitors to the Nature Center can ‘check out’ a backpack at no cost by leaving a driver’s license at the front desk of the Natural History Museum.


“This program is designed to encourage people to exercise their minds and bodies on our trails by providing visitors with materials to enhance their visit,” said Maggie Jones, executive director of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. “The materials, which might otherwise be unaffordable to some visitors, will allow families to learn more about the environment together.”


The Nature Center is open seven days a week, and the backpacks are available during open hours: Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children and senior citizens.


Northeast Utilities’ Environmental Community Grant Program provides community-based groups with funding for local projects that benefit the environment. NU’s goal is to sponsor local grassroots efforts that are frequently overlooked by large grant programs.