Since it was first established in 1966, Chippewa Nature Center (CNC) has seen tremendous growth. Nature Day Camp (NDC), Nature Preschool and school programs are among its most impactful programs on youth and their families throughout the region. To meet existing and growing demand for these programs, CNC plans to build the Nature Education Center (NEC). The NEC will primarily serve as the home for these youth-based programs. Groundbreaking for the Nature Education Center will take place in 2024, with completion in 2025.
Nature Day Camp
Located near the Visitor Center and existing Nature Preschool building, the Nature Education Center will consist of multi-purpose indoor program space, two Nature Preschool classrooms, office space, a meeting room, accessible restrooms and food prep areas, an outdoor covered area for school and camp programs and lunches for up to 150 people, nature play areas and access to nearby trails and ponds.
Nature Day Camp, Nature Preschool and school programs have outgrown their current space, and a new program building will play a critical role in growing CNC’s service to the community. This building will grow the capacity to serve youth in each of these programs, while maintaining the high quality programming. The new facility will enhance opportunities for positive nature connections for youth throughout the region for years to come.
Nature Preschool Entrance
As of August 2023, CNC has raised more than $4.2 million toward the $5.2 million project, with support from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation and individual donors, as well as funding provided by CNC. “The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has been a partner and supporter of CNC and its programs since its inception in 1966,” notes Ruth Alden Doan, president and trustee. “We are proud to support the Nature Education Center project, which will greatly contribute to the quality of life in the Great Lakes Bay Region.” Dennis Pilaske, CNC executive director adds, “CNC’s first parcels of land were donated by The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Dorothy Dow Arbury (daughter of Herbert and Grace) was instrumental in securing that land, and provided incredible leadership as an original board member.”
“CNC is committed to meeting the needs of the community while pursuing its mission to connect all people to nature through educational, recreational and cultural experiences, which is critical to the health and wellbeing of our community,” Dennis Pilaske, CNC's Executive Director, shares. “We are thrilled to provide this new resource to connect even more people to nature.”
Ways to Give
Nature Education Center Main Entrance
The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation
Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation
The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation
The Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation
Debbie Anderson & Elan Lipschitz
Nature Education Center Covered Courtyard
Will CNC serve more youth with this new program building?
Yes! In the coming years, the new building will enable us to serve additional youth through Nature Day Camp, school programs and early childhood programs.
Where will this new building be located?
The new building will be located near the beginning of the Homestead Road. This location creates a campus-like feel with the Visitor Center, Nature Preschool building and other facilities, and easy access for program participants.
When will you break ground?
We expect to break ground in spring 2024.
Will summer 2024 Nature Day Camp be impacted?
While there may be days we have to adjust traffic flow or close specific areas for safety reasons, we expect all of CNC’s programs to continue without interruption throughout construction. Nature Day Camp will continue to run out of the Visitor Center until the completion of this project.
When will the building be open for programming?
We anticipate completion of the project in early 2025, with Nature Day Camp being the first program to use the space.
What will happen to the existing Nature Preschool building?
The Margaret Ann (Ranny) Riecker Nature Preschool Center will continue to welcome preschoolers. The new education building will serve an existing preschool class and allow for future expansion.
Nature Preschool Entrance
Address:400 S Badour Rd
Midland, MI 48640
Mon-Sat:8 am-5 pm
Sun & select holidays:12-5 pm
Closed:Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve & New Year's Day
Open daily dawn-to-dark