“Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence.” Alfred Billings Street
Getting tired of the hustle and bustle of city life? Need to get away from the concrete jungle? Yearning to smell the sweetness of fresh air again? Whether you live in a big city or a small town, sometimes you need to get away from it all, and commune with nature. The Chippewa Nature Center can offer you all of that!
The Chippewa Nature Center is a non-profit organization helping people enjoy and learn about the environment, as well as to inspire and teach them how to be responsible stewards of the land, water and air. The CNC started with 198 acres in 1965, and has grown to over 1,200 acres with 40 staff members and hundreds of dedicated volunteers. Annually, they have over 50,000 people visit, including 20,000 school children and 700 Nature Day Campers. Today Chippewa Nature Center is one of the largest private non-profit nature centers in the United States.
It doesn’t matter if you are a tenderfoot looking to experience a little of what nature has to offer, or an avid outdoorsman, you can find what you are looking for at the CNC. Some of the various programs and activities that are offered at the CNC include a Nature Preschool for 3-4 year olds that provides a high quality learning environment that meets their developmental needs while initiating them into a life-long, meaningful relationship with the natural world. For school age children, the CNC offers science- and history-based programs for school groups. Their programs are geared to meet the needs of the teacher as well as the students. When children visit the CNC, not only do they get to be immersed in nature, they will learn about it as well.
Some of the other activities found at the CNC are the numerous trails that can be used year round. Don’t let a little snow slow you down, strap on a pair of snow shoes or cross country skis and hit the trails. If you’re looking for something more relaxing, you can see what life was like in the 1870’s by exploring the Homestead Farm and Log Schoolhouse. In March you can watch how they make maple syrup by taping a maple tree and collecting its sap. If you are looking to take in a little bit of scenery, then don’t miss the rolling rivers, the beautiful wetlands or the wildflower walk. Since the CNC is open for visitors all year, check out their calendar of events to see what is going on each month. Best of all, most of the events are FREE!
The Chippewa Nature Center uses Email Contact to send out weekly newsletters that include upcoming events, “Recent Sightings” of flora and fauna visitors have found on the property, and information about the Nature Preschool, Nature Day Camp, Nature Center Store sales, upcoming programs and other promotions being offered. Jamie Hockstra, Director of Marketing and Communications said, “By staying in contact with our visitors through Email Contact, we have been able to get the word out about our various offerings to a target audience on a regular basis at a very affordable rate. We have also used Email Contact to send an annual year-end appeal. Our email list has grown from 464 people in 2006 to almost 3,000 in 2011.”
If you would like to learn more about the Chippewa Nature Center, visit their website or ‘like’ them on Facebook. If you would like to get away from the rat race of daily life and become one with nature for a while, visit the CNC at 400 S. Badour Rd., Midland, MI, open 8 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm Saturday and 1-5 pm Sunday and holidays.