Rye Nature Center
Our 47-acre wildlife preserve has over two miles of hiking trails, ponds, streams, and granite outcroppings. The Nature Center has comfortable indoor and outdoor classrooms as well as museum space for visitors and special events.
Friends of Rye Nature Center is a non-profit organization devoted to environmental education, conservation, and community. Our programs encourage the protection of our natural resources and promote environmental awareness in Rye and the surrounding communities. In addition to managing and operating the Rye Nature Center, Rye’s 47-acre forest and wildlife sanctuary, the FRNC provides environmental programs and nature interpretation to over 27,000 visitors annually. FRNC has direct partnerships with Rye City School District, neighboring school districts, and other local organizations to provide nature and science study tours for people of all ages.
The Rye Nature Center is a 47-acre wildlife preserve with over two miles of hiking trails, ponds, streams, and granite outcroppings. The Nature Center has comfortable indoor and outdoor classrooms as well as a museum space for visitors.
The Friends of Rye Nature Center team brings a wide range of skills and specialties to the organization, but we all share the same vision – to educate children and adults about the natural world and assist them in becoming stewards of the environment.
Associate Director of Forest Education
Associate Director of Development
Early Childhood Education Specialist
Board of Directors
FRNC’s Board of Directors consists of dedicated representatives and community leaders. They represent the board diversity of our membership and contribute significant amounts of time talent, and energy to ensure the growth of the Nature Center as a non-profit organization and environmental education facility.
History of the Rye Nature Center
The City of Rye acquired the 35-acre Parsons tract including the remains of the home, which burned down in 1942, as well as the family’s Carriage House.
The Parsons tract was set aside as a natural area thanks to the hard work of Mrs. Bayard Read and some far-sighted citizens who saw the potential for a green space in the midst of rapid population growth and land development.
The property was established as a nature center after the Conservation Commission, made up of Mrs. Read, John Feeley, and Karl Frederick, along with local groups and garden clubs developed the property into an office and residence with a meeting room.
The Conservation Commission and several “friends” banded together to form the Rye Conservation Society to continuously encourage development, use, and protection of the Nature Center and promote and encourage an understanding, appreciation, and study of conservation of the natural sciences.
The Conservation Society capitalized on the environmental movement of the seventies when the importance of the Nature Center as an educational and recreational facility increased and used the movement as an opportunity to expand and improve the headquarters
The Rye Nature Center became the fist nature center in the nation to be certified as an urban wildlife sanctuary by the National Institute for Urban Wildlife in recognition of the Center’s wildlife habitat management and education efforts.
The Rye Conservation Society was renamed the Friends of Rye Nature Center to reflect the organization’s main goal of providing support for the operation and growth of the Nature Center and its programs.
The City ceased funding for the Nature Center and the Friends rose to the occasion of being solely responsible for managing and funding RNC to keep the preserve open to the public as a not-for-profit environmental education center.
The Board and Friends have continued supporting the efforts of the Nature Center allowing it to grow and prosper, showing what it truly means to be a Friend.