At the beginning of summer, the kids room at William O’Brien State Park’s visitor center got a redo thanks to the Scandia-Marine Lions Club and the Pietro Hanka Di Lorenzo St. Croix River Conservancy Fund.
With donations from the fund set up to memorialize young river lover Pietro Hanka DiLorenzo of Marine on St. Croix, who passed away in March, and volunteer labor from the Lions, the kids area was upgraded.
“Pietro enjoyed the visitor center every week in the winter when we cross-country skied,” said his mother Loralee DiLorenzo. “He was an avid naturalist as a child and maintained his love of the outdoors through fishing and boating as an adult.”
There’s now a tent and mock campsite where kids can play or read many new nature books, more games and other activities to help connect children to nature.
“We are delighted to have these interactive items donated in memory of Pietro,” said Sean Hoppes, interim park naturalist. “About 65,000 park visitors use the Visitor Center each year, and many will have a deeper park experience because of this generous gesture.”
The room now also features a whiteboard to put Post-It notes on with observations from park visitors.
I Saw This:
When I stopped in recently, the board had been completely covered, and I found a lot of stories scattered among the scribbles. Here is a smattering: