Sargent Camp Saved
Nature’s Classroom to manage BU-owned retreat| From Commonwealth | By Chris Berdik
Photo courtesy of BU Photo Services
Boston University’s Sargent Center for Outdoor Education, threatened with closure because of the University’s budget shortfall, will live on. As of September 2009, the wilderness retreat in Hancock, New Hampshire, will be operated by Nature’s Classroom, a nonprofit based in Charlton, Massachusetts, that offers residential environmental education programs for children in grades four through eight at thirteen locations in the Northeast.
“I’ve been an admiring competitor of the Sargent Center for years,” says John Santos, director of Nature’s Classroom. “I think BU will be putting us in charge of something they’ve been doing quite well.”
BU acquired the 700-acre property in 1932 for a Sargent College teacher training program. Since then, the center has served as an educational and retreat space for BU schools, colleges, and departments, as well as a research base for many BU faculty, particularly in natural sciences. Thomas Kunz, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of biology and director of the Center for Ecology and Conservation Biology, has been researching bats at the center for decades. “I think this is a great solution to a difficult problem,” says Kunz, who will continue his bat research on the site.