Fact Sheet

Flanders Fact Sheet

Contact Information

Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust
5 Church Hill Road
Woodbury, CT 06798
Fax 203-263-2214
E-mail: flanders@flandersnaturecenter.org
Board President: Anne Westerman
Executive Director: Arthur Milnor
Media Contact: Nancy Robinson


Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust acquires, preserves, and manages land; and uses the land to promote the understanding and appreciation of nature, art, and the environment.

Time Line

  • 1926: Van Vleck family of New York purchases farm on Flanders Road in Woodbury, CT
  • Daughter Natalie Van Vleck, accomplished artist, builds studio on parents’ property
  • 1934: Van Vlecks purchase 108 acres from Connecticut Light & Power Co.
  • 1935: Natalie Van Vleck gives up art to found fully-working turkey farm on parents’ property
  • 1942: Natalie inherits Woodbury farm from parents
  • 1955: Natalie Van Vleck operating successful Hampshire sheep farm, well-known on East Coast
  • 1960s Suburban development encroaches upon Woodbury’s agricultural traditions. In consultation with environmentalists, Natalie Van Vleck evolves idea to develop nature center on her property to preserve it in perpetuity
  • 1963: Flanders Nature Center Inc. chartered as a non-profit organization
  • 1973: Flanders becomes one of first land trusts in area, receiving gift of 6.5 acre Manville Kettle property
  • 1981: Natalie Van Vleck dies at her home on Christmas Day and  leaves her estate to Flanders Nature Center
  • 1999: Acquisition of the 686 acre Whittemore Sanctuary, received first state DEP Open Space grant
  • 2002: New sugar House built; Buz Russell Farm and Rural Life museum donated; Flanders creates new farm education program; Farm Trail developed to connect Trail House and Sugar House to Studio, North & South Barn areas
  • 2013: Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust is 50 years old

Flanders Places: Preserves and Sanctuaries

Sanctuary and Preserves

  • Flanders holds in trust more than 2,100 acres of open space in Woodbury, Bethlehem, Southbury and Middlebury, CT.
  • Holdings include seven nature preserves and sanctuaries
  • Stewards more than 40 open space properties, managing and monitoring the properties to preserve their natural beauty and care for the system through astute land-use practices
  • Organization plays active role with municipal regulatory committees and regional and state organizations to identify opportunities for preserving more land in future

Van Vleck Farm and Nature Sanctuary

  • Original location of Van Vleck Farm at corner of Flanders and Church Hill Roads, Woodbury
  • Serves as nature sanctuary and teaching campus of Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust, which hosts educational programs for children, adults and school groups
  • Buildings include a farmhouse, studio, trail house, sugar house and barns
  • Landscape includes stone walls, fields, meadows, forests, wetlands, marshes, streams and ponds
  • Network of well-marked and maintained hiking trails.
  • Click HERE for map

Whittemore Sanctuary

  • 686 acres located off Route 64 in Woodbury
  • 8-mile trail system open to the public
  • Ecological habitats include woodlands, streams, ponds, a large bog and abutting lake.
  • Click HERE for map

 Manville Kettle

  •  6.5 acres off Jackson Avenue in Woodbury, near town center
  • Known as a “kettle” because of geological depression formed during Ice Age
  •  Landscape includes open field, mixed trees and a swamp

 Hetzel Refuge

  • 54 acres located in Middlebury, CT, bordered by Middlebury Land Trust property, accessed from Breakneck Hill Road
  • Refuge includes woodlands, hay fields, conifer plantations, swamps and man-made ponds
  • Excellent trail system
  • Click HERE for map

 Fredrick W. Marzahl Memorial Refuge

  • Located to east and west of Route 132 in Woodbury
  • Encompasses stream, waterfall, forestland and semi-open fields
  • Click HERE for map

 Leavenworth Preserve

  • 126 acres adjacent to a residential development in Woodbury
  • Wildlife habitat with low-impact trail system
  • Located across from Pilgrim Trail and Plumb Brook cul-de-sac
  • Click HERE for map

 Fleming Preserve

  •  28.5 acres, fronting on Cowles Road in Woodbury
  • Site of Flanders’ historic Sap House overlook and Sugar Bush
  • Landscape is forests, meadows, trails, apple orchard, stone walls and an overlook
  • Click HERE for map