In 1946 Tony Cosenza was asked by the New Haven Board of Park Commissioners to run Scout camping on the current Nature Center site. He accepts, but asks that the land also be designated for a nature oriented sanctuary. The Park Commission agrees, and The West Rock Nature Center is born. The Center is believed to be the first urban nature center in the country.
From 1946 until his retirement in 1977, Tony Cosenza and his wife Virginia worked tirelessly to marshal the resources of local teenagers, college students and community lenders to energize The Center as a focus for outdoor learning. Tony Cosenza passed away in July, 1998.
On June 4, 2003 the West Rock Nature Center was listed on the State Register of Historic Places by The Connecticut Historical Commission.