Helmer Nature Center was the backdrop of my summers growing up in West Irondequoit. Nature Camp was a place of fun and learning, but also of hard work taking the fresh wood chips from the Christmas trees and spreading them down the trails. We learned to become stewards of the land. I first learned about water striders and penny cleaners, first heard the sound of bullfrogs, tasted maple syrup, and learned how to master Capture the Flag and classic campfire songs.
Helmer Nature Center comprises 45-acres which are owned and operated by the West Irondequoit Central School District as an outdoor classroom. The roughly 1.5 miles of trail, made primarily of wood chip, boardwalk, and hard-pack gravel, are easy to navigate and clearly marked. There are sloped portions that take you down to the valley floor where the terrain around you is hilly and tree covered making it peacefully quiet. In the winter, you can rent snowshoes to help you enjoy the trails year-round. The photos below were taken April 1 and September 10 to give you an idea of the environment at various times of year.
Heading down to the frog pond in April
In mid- to late-March, the Helmer Nature Center hosts 2 maple syrup-related events. On the first weekend, learn about the maple sugaring process, and on the second weekend, enjoy a pancake breakfast!
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Maple Syrup Weekend