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Bear Branch Nature Center facts for kids

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Bear Branch Nature Center
Entrance to Bear Branch Nature Center visitor center.jpg
Type Nature Center
Location 300 John Owings Road
Westminster, Maryland
Area 4,000 sq ft (370 m2)
Created 1993
Operated by Carroll County, Maryland
Hiking trails 5 miles (8.0 km)
Parking On-site lot
Other information exhibits, live animals, observatory, planetarium

Bear Branch Nature Center is a nature center in Carroll County, Maryland near Westminster. It features interpretive exhibits about local plants and animals, an outdoor water feature and play area, a Discovery Room for children, an observation beehive, live animals including an eagle, hawks, owls, snakes, salamanders, turtles, frogs, and toads, a planetarium and observatory. The center is a facility of Carroll County Recreation & Parks.

The nature center is adjacent to Hashawha Environmental Center, a residential facility that is also operated by Carroll County Recreation & Parks. Hashawha Environmental Center is home to Carroll County Public Schools' Outdoor School, a residential environmental education program open to every sixth grade student in the county.

The two facilities are located on approximately 320 acres, with more than five miles of multi-use trails, a restored 19th century cabin, a lake, a pond, and access to both Bear Branch and Big Pipe Creek.


In 1972, the county purchased the land on which Bear Branch Nature Center and Hashawha Environmental Center are built. The name "Hashawha" is a Native American word meaning "old fields."

Hashawha Tower

The Hashawha Tower is a 10 m (35 ft) tall windmill donated to Hashawha Westminster, Maryland, located at Hashawha Environmental Center.

Hashawha Windmill
The "Hashawha Tower," a windmill at Hashawha Environmental Center, Carroll County, Maryland.


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