Lynn Hamlen, executive director of the Darien Nature Center, will retire from her post after 20 years of service.

Hamlen joined the nature center in 1993, following five years as chairman of the Darien Board of Education.

"As I looked to my next challenge, it was a gift to find this wonderful place dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of preserving our environment," she said in a release.

During her 20-year tenure, program offerings have grown, introducing thousands of Darien children to the wonders of the natural world. According to Hamlen, "starting in the old cinderblock dormitory in 1993, with a few animals, a mimeograph machine and a staff of two, the creative process of building programs, exhibits and a new facility has been most gratifying."

In response to its ever-growing popularity, the community supported the construction of a new nature center facility, which opened in 2002.

"This big beautiful barn is the meeting place for Darien's many environmental groups, nature discovery programs, family activities and exhibits," Hamlen said. "It serves as a great community resource enjoyed by people of all ages."

According to Bill Orr, President of the Darien Nature Center, "Lynn has been a strong champion within our community and region. Her leadership over the past 20 years has been invaluable -- she has managed the Nature Center through significant changes and growth over a period of two decades."

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Hamlen will step down on May 3. The Darien Nature Center Board of Directors has started its search for a new executive director. The job description will be available shortly at For further information or to submit an application, contact the search committee at