Roberta Royce’s excitement was palpable as she walked along a nearly finished boardwalk, pointing to the things she loved — three tall willow trees, a swath of cattails, a small brook tumbling over rocks.
“We have a resident deer who’s made a bed out here,” she said, laughing, continuing on toward the wooded section of the soon-to-be community park.
Royce, the executive director of the Winchester Learning Center, has long had a vision for a nature park. Now, after several years of the land sitting undeveloped and unused, that vision is coming to fruition.
Thursday morning, a five-member crew from the Student Conservation Association — a national nonprofit that sends young people to improve public land and parks — was hard at work, clearing trails.
“We’re trying to make it exciting for the kiddos,” said crew leader Kelly Rife. “It’s definitely a labor of love.”
In addition to the trails, the crew installed a series of tree stumps for children to play on, and was discussing what other features could be included, like a balance beam.
“I can’t say enough about the Student Conservation crew — they are wonderful,” Royce said.