Twelve Hills Nature Center board members are anxiously awaiting the completion of the center’s trailhead entrance sometime this spring. “Right now it looks like somebody is digging up a whole lot of dirt in a field that’s been neglected, and sometimes the neighbors wonder,” board member Paula Craig jokes. The entrance off of Mary Cliff will be the only actual construction on the 5.4-acre site, which is right behind Rosemont Primary School’s Chris V. Semos campus. But it will take a few more years to restore the land, where an apartment complex once sat, to Blackland prairie. That’s the long-term goal of neighbors on the board who are especially interested in seeing the land used for science classes and after-school programs. Since Twelve Hills is conveniently located within walking distance of three schools — Rosemont Elementary, Rosemont Primary and St. Cecilia Catholic School — students already are learning onsite. “Children in urban environments, particularly in apartments, they don’t have access to nature,” Craig says. “They don’t know what it’s like. They come in, and they’re amazed.” Neighborhood mom and landscape architect Carolyn Perna won the competition for the trailhead entrance, and her multi-sensory design is all about the kids — ways they can feel, hold and listen to nature.
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