The Darien Nature Center will honor Dr. Charles Duffy, owner of Norwalk Veterinary Hospital, on Wednesday, Jan. 22 for his longtime commitment to the wellbeing of the Nature Center’s animals. A cocktails and hors d’oeuvres party will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nature Center, directly following its annual meeting at 6:30 p.m.

Duffy will be named the first recipient of the David M. Sinclair Volunteerism Award, which was established last year to annually recognize a local individual who has shown exceptional commitment to the natural world. The Darien Nature Center houses more than 30 animals, and Dr. Duffy has been their dedicated volunteer on-call caretaker for nearly 20 years.

“We have more than a dozen species living here and any creature could need medical help at any time. The amount of knowledge and flexibility from Dr. Duffy and his staff has truly been an amazing gift to us,” said the Nature Center’s Animal Care Director, Molly Robertson.

The evening will also be a celebration of the Nature Center’s 40 years in the community. The non-profit organization began offering programs in Darien public schools during summers in the 80s and with the support of the town, neighbors and local donors eventually found its own place in Cherry Lawn Park.

“Our history is all thanks to current and former Board Members, as well as the community and residents who have taken initiative to help make environmental education and experiences a priority in our town. We are so grateful for the support over 40 years!” said Nature Center Executive Director Leila Wetmore.

The celebration is open to the public; RSVP is appreciated and can be done online at dariennaturecenter.org/events, or you can call Leah at 203-655-7459.