JNC Through the Years

  • The following Information is courtesy of Karen Czarny

    Origin of the Jarrett Nature Center

    The Nature Center is a rich assemblage of woods, meadow, wetlands, open water, and floodplain. In 1972, the building and associated facilities for the Keith Valley Middle School (now Simmons Elementary School) were constructed. In 1992, the new Hatboro-Horsham High School was built on the other end of the property. The interior land between the two buildings, now the Jarrett Nature Center, is a rich assemblage of woods, meadow, pond, and floodplain. It is not suitable for development due to the sensitive environmental conditions and local and state regulations which limit its use. By allowing it to maintain its natural conditions, the undeveloped area became an ideal place for environmental education, nature appreciation, and passive recreation. 

    During the summer of 1991, Shawn McNally, an Eagle Scout with Explorer Post 2081, in cooperation with his Scout Master Bob Pessolano and his father, Scout Commissioner Joe McNally planned and constructed an effective environmental outdoor classroom.  Shawn envisioned the project, designed it, coordinated all labor and materials and with over 300 hours of work, gave HHSD students their first outdoor classroom with benches, teaching podium and paths.  This was the first Eagle Scout project and the beginnings of Jarrett Nature Center as a learning environment.

    In 2000, the Simmons Principal, teachers, and HSA members decided to prepare a Master Plan to better identify the areas characteristics, assets, and needed improvements to ensure its future use for educational and recreational purposes. Having a nature center in the School District within walking distance or a short drive from each school is considered a highly valued resource.   Further, this center is viewed as an invaluable resource to enrich the curriculum consistent with the recently approved State Academic Standards.  Among the State standards that can be served by the Nature Center are: Environment and Technology, Science and Technology, and Geography.  The JNC offers hands-on teaching and viewing opportunities for a wide range of habitats from upland meadow and woods to flowing water and wetlands.  

    A special thank you to Carolyn Koch

    Carolyn Koch taught at Simmons Elementary and later served as a math coach for the school district.  But it is her love of the outdoors, and the Jarrett Nature Center in particular, that makes her so special to us. In the 2000s, Mrs. Koch would frequently take her second grade students to what she then called the "outdoor classroom." In 2002, thanks to her dedication and perseverance, the "Jarrett Nature Center, Hatboro-Horsham's Outdoor Classroom" was dedicated. 

    Mrs. Koch retired from Hatboro-Horsham School District in 2009 but remained actively involved at the JNC for the next 14 years. She played a large part in guiding the enhancements made over the years and the JNC is forever grateful for her hardwork and care. She now lives in North Carolina closer to her family, though a piece of her will forever remain here in Horsham. 

    View our history book!