Nature Advisory Committee

Nature Banner

OAK HILLS PARK
NATURE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Our Vision for the Nature Center

January 2017

Advocating for Sustainability
 
OHPNAC offers its efforts to advocate for the continued conservation, protection, and sustainability of the natural environment at Oak Hills Park. We will continue to bring awareness to the park and the nature center and look forward to the establishment of a nature preserve in our community. We believe this is a positive step for our city, setting a high standard for others to follow.
We are a group of Norwalk volunteers dedicated to raising awareness of the opportunities for enjoyment of nature at Oak Hills Park. The existing nature trails and the work-in-progress revitalization of garden areas provide a unique oasis of tranquility and sites for community events and activities right here in our own backyard.
 
Nature Trails
 
An existing nature trail, renovated as an Eagle Scout service project in 2014, is marked by a “Nature Trail” sign at the eastern edge of the restaurant parking lot. The main trail, suitable for all ages, takes hikers down into a woodland setting, a magical experience in the midst of suburbia. Along the way visitors can explore natural flora and fauna. The trail has two main branches, both demarcated with rectangular paint blazes on strategic trees: a relatively level main route of a little less than a mile that terminates at the southern end of the Great Lawn, and a shorter but steeper loop that branches uphill and returns to the “Nature Trail” trailhead sign. A short, less-marked branch cuts off to the west and terminates at the stone wall of the Fountain Garden.
 
Revitalizing Garden and Meadow Areas

As part of the Oak Hills Park master plan, in 2016-2017 two areas of the park are being revitalized with major landscaping. The “old rose garden,” including a fountain and stone wall, located at the northeastern end of the restaurant parking lot, is newly designated as the Fountain Garden. The field located to the east of the employee parking lot is newly designated as the Great Lawn. Both are works in progress with lawn, garden plantings, natural meadows, and pathways in their design. They will serve as venues for events, community gatherings, family activities, and informal relaxation and enjoyment of nature.

Highlighting aesthetic beauty as well as biodiversity, the planting plans call for native, sustainable, and disease-resistant plants in a variety of colors, shapes, and bloom times. They will support pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds; and will provide food, shelter and nesting sites for wildlife.

Signage and Interpretation

Future plans include installation of plant identification plaques, improved wayfinding signage, and interpretive kiosks to provide information about natural features such as native and specialty trees, birds and other wildlife, and geological elements on the Oak Hills Park property.

The emphasis will be on conservation, protection, and sustainability of our native environment in addition to the experience of wild habitat. These additions will enhance the park’s appeal for bird-watchers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts of all ages.

Our Mission

The Oak Hills Park Nature Advisory Committee (OHPNAC) was formed in January 2015 as an ad hoc committee to assist the Oak Hills Park Authority in the protection and betterment of the natural resources in the park. We advocate for the continued conservation, protection, and sustainability of the natural environment at Oak Hills Park. We will continue to bring awareness to the park and its nature areas. We believe this is a positive step for Norwalk, setting a high standard for other communities to follow.