ANT campaign marches closer to fundraising goal

Autism Nature Trail An artist’s illustration depicts the Meadow Run & Climb station on the Autism Nature Trail being planned at Letchworth State Park.

LETCHWORTH STATE PARK — A partnership involving Perry Central School will help provide programming for the Autism Nature Trail at Letchworth State Park.

A series of formal agreements with the school district and Camp Puzzle Peace of Rochester was announced in recognition of Autism Awareness Month, said officials at New York State Parks and the Campaign to Build The Autism Nature Trail in a news release.

The contracts will allow the district and Camp Puzzle Peace to create, develop and operate programs for young people with autism and all other visitors to the trail.

State officials said Perry Central School and Camp Puzzle Peace have been active partners since the inception of The ANT, an outdoor recreation experience conceived, designed and built specifically for people with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.

“It is fitting for the Park to officially formalize these partnerships in this month of April and we are looking forward to The ANT becoming the newest attraction in Letchworth State Park with the Trail welcoming its first visitors with a full slate of programming in place later this year,” said State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.

Perry Central School will execute operating and maintenance plans for the trail and will also serve as its communications hub, officials said. A school staffer will manage a grant to develop an interactive website to assist visitors.

Opportunities for outdoor education, curriculum integration, professional development and service learning all will enrich ongoing educational initiatives, officials said.

“We are excited to be such an integral part of this unique and innovative project,” said Superintendent Daryl McLaughlin. “We look forward to developing community- focused programs which will benefit our students, staff and district residents as well as businesses and organizations in Perry and the surrounding area as The ANT brings visitors throughout the region, around the state and across the country.”

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