The long-term educational value of this property to the Ethel Walker School is clear in terms of attracting excellent students (who can choose from many similar schools), providing pristine woodlands to investigate (numerous educational opportunities), and offering students and the community the priceless opportunity to run and play in the woods. A recent newspaper article titled “Let Kids Play in the Woods” (Pierce, Neal, The Hartford Courant, 5/8/2005) reports on the “nature deficit disorder” which is becoming a major topic in education. Of course many of us had the experience of growing up and playing the woods, but fewer and fewer of today’s children enjoy that luxury. As a society we are just starting to understand the impact of this loss in terms of independent play and exploration, opportunity for creative thought and mental space, developing confidence and independence, and forming habits that promote lifelong mental, physical, and spiritual health. The development plan does include a pedestrian path, but walking on a set path beside a housing development provides neither the experiential nor the educational value. We should not deny the next generation of students nor the members of the community these opportunities. 


The main theme of the Ethel Walker School is to help girls “emerge”. For generations, a major way Ethel Walker enables girls to emerge is by offering this priceless resource. Students at the school can run around in the woods – go for walks, ride in the woods and still enjoy a place that is accessible to all aspects of modern life with trips to Hartford, New York, and Boston. This wonderful combination of the country and the city is getting ever more precious, and will only increase in value. “Emerging” doesn’t mean spending your life in prescribed programs, and as an apropos metaphor, it doesn’t mean riding exclusively in circles or on marked trails. Emerging means finding yourself, and having the space to do it in. Ethel Walker values independent, innovative, and creative thought. These qualities are major predictors of future successes such as personal happiness and financial independence. Preserving this beautiful woodland ensures that these qualities continue to emerge in future generations of Ethel Walker students.