The Darien Nature Center has partnered with nonprofit organizations and businesses in town to present a four-week Nature Challenge to residents of all ages. Each week during the month of July there will be 16 opportunities to spot amazing things in nature, do something new, learn about and explore Darien like you haven’t before.

Participants who submit photos will be entered into a weekly drawing for prizes, and the month-long Challenge will conclude with an outdoor community picnic on Sunday, Aug. 2.

“The challenge has been designed to provide ideas and incentives to explore nature, both in our backyards, throughout the beautiful parks, forests and beaches of Darien, and some other wonderful resources close by,” said Nature Center board member Carolyn Bayne.

Starting the week of July 5 and for the following three weeks, a new game card of 16 challenges will be shared by email, Facebook, Instagram, and on dariennaturecenter.org. Several partner stores will also have copies of the Challenge board at their checkout locations. Participants can print it out, or look at it on a screen.

“It’s been such a stressful spring of quarantining, but we keep hearing how people of all ages have been able to spend more time outside. We want to be relevant to the town and now, more than ever, being in nature is an antidote to so many of our stresses and concerns.” said Nature Center board member Jenn Moller.

Registration is not required and participants can join the challenge any time in July. Share any of your findings and adventures by sending a picture to naturechallenge@dariennaturecenter.org to be entered into a weekly raffle drawing for a bird feeder, donated by The Gardener’s Center. With four weeks of challenges, that’s four chances to win!

The challenge is made possible through the generosity of the Darien Sport Shop, who, in addition to promoting several sustainable clothing brands, donated $1,000 to the Nature Center.

“Darien Sport Shop is thrilled to support this amazing “out of the box” summer activity from Darien Nature Center. What a fantastic way to get the community together in these interesting times,” Gina Zangrillo, Darien Sport Shop

Other partners include The Gardener’s Center, Sipstirs, Everything is Rosey, the Darien Land Trust, the Darien Parks and Recreation Department, the Darien Pollinator Pathway, Palmers, Height’s Pizza, Uncle’s Deli, Michael Joseph’s and Barrett Bookstore. Interested in becoming a partner? It’s never too late to join and be listed. Contact Nature Center Board member Maija Judelson at judelsonmaija@gmail.com.