By Larry Berrin
Children joyfully tromping through the woods and the concentration on their faces as they stop to hear an educator describe the animal tracks in the snow; thousands of families enjoying the musical holiday light show at Winter Wonderland; or a class of high school students spending their PE period skiing and snowshoeing in the woods are all scenes that have played out in my first few months here at Asbury Woods. After spending half my life working across the country in the field of environmental education, I feel that I’ve finally found my home here in Erie. I’m not sure why everyone says Erie is cold, because my family and I have felt nothing but warmth from everyone since we arrived. It’s funny that I find myself back in PA where I had my first connection to the woods. As a child growing up in NYC, I still have fond memories of visiting my cousins in the "country" in Allentown (sounds funny to say that now). Those experiences stuck with me and are precisely why I dedicated my life to connecting children to the outdoors. I’m honored to have joined such a passionate staff and equally committed Board of Directors, all working to help children connect to this special place.
We are also fortunate to have a devoted group of volunteers who dedicate countless hours to the center. As the old saying goes "many hands make light work" and thanks to of our volunteers we can operate at the current level we do and serve over 10,000 students and 100,000 visitors each year! To this end I would like to introduce the most recent member of our team who will be working closely with our volunteers as our new Volunteer Coordinator. Emily Smith comes to us from Wichita, Kansas where she studied Zoo Science and Field Biology at Friends University and worked with volunteers and as a bird keeper at the Sedgwick Zoo. We love the positive energy Emily has already brought to the center and are so excited to have her join us here at Asbury.
In closing I just would like to reiterate how excited I am to work for a nature center with a rich history and great community support. Asbury Woods is a true gem in Western PA and with your support the future is bright.
From the Woods,
Larry Berrin, President/CEO
Asbury Woods Partnership, Inc.