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Quarrybrook Hosts Open House

Submitted by on June 28, 2016 – 7:26 pm
NECC's Tina Favara and son Lucca examine the animal pelts on display at Quarrybrook.

NECC’s Tina Favara, dean of enrollment services, and son Lucca examine the animal pelts on display at Quarrybrook.

Nearly 100 members of the Northern Essex Community College community  and their families attended an open house at Quarrybrook Outdoor Learning Center in Windham, New Hampshire, familiarizing themselves with the property.

Their visit was part of the facility’s June 23, open house to introduce NECC employees to the private, nonprofit, outdoor, education center, which NECC has been managing since last fall. The 245-acre campus is funded by the El Hefni Technical Training Foundation.

Quarrybrook, which opened in 2014, offers hands-on, inquiry-based learning experiences to a K-16 audience. The land features numerous trails and outdoor learning spaces. In addition, there is a 20,000 square-foot facility with a large, stone-front fireplace and a gathering room called Woodland Hall along with multiple, flexible classrooms and meeting spaces which carry whimsical names like Lilly Pad, Moose Marsh, and Bear’s Den.

NECC’s partnership with Quarrybrook provides numerous benefits to the college including strengthening relationships with K-16 students and educators and giving NECC faculty and staff access to the facility.  Quarrybrook is expected to generate revenue for the college as enrollment and programming grows.

Marcy Yeager, is the executive director of Quarrybrook, and Kirsten Kortz, is the education development director.

While snacking on sandwiches, fresh fruit, and cookies while sipping cool drinks, attendees toured the property. Outside, Kristina Ellis, education staff member at Quarrybrook, who has been involved with Quarrybrook development since its inception, tended a log-cabin fire where she was baking rolls using two heat transfer ovens.

Onlookers watched the rolls rise while they sipped white pine needle tea brewed with needles dropped from the properties pine trees.

Ellis, explained how the outdoor facility is an ideal location for “urbanized youth” to learn about the outdoors.

“They bring with them this odd mythology about the woods and they leave feeling brave and connected,” she says. “The goal is to create an experience for them that they can appreciate at their own pace.”

It’s not just the woodlands that are green. The design of the main building includes many “green” elements such as the solar photovoltaic roof and the geothermal energy system. Viewing areas around these systems allow visiting classrooms and other groups to explore and study these green technologies up close, incorporating the building into the overall education program for the site.

As a private facility, Quarrybrook is open to scheduled groups, for school programs, workshops, and community events.

For additional information contact Yeager at or visit the Quarrybrook website.