On the June 28 episode of “A Watershed Moment,” Kathy Reed, vice-president of Lily’s Frog Pond, the new management group of the Howard Christensen Nature Center, explains the beloved nature center’s future plans.
The 135-acre nature center, located west of Cedar Springs in the middle of the Rogue River State Game Area, is still owned by the Kent Intermediate School District, but it is now being run by a new independent 501c3 non-profit organization called Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. The light-hearted name was created by Cindy Perski, the group’s president, in hopes of giving the nature center a fun new image.
Already widely recognized for its history of providing environment education field trips to the students of West Michigan for over 35 years, the nature center will now host craft classes, fitness programs and summer day camps focused on nature to further benefit the community. The Field Station, which is one of the center’s “interpretive” buildings, has been rechristened “Camp Lily” to house group overnight stays.
In the past year, the conservation districts in Michigan, including the Kent Conservation District, have had their funding stream severed due to statewide budget cuts. The nature center was forced to close this past January because of financial constraint. But due to a generous $3,100 grant from the Jimmy F. New Foundation, an Indiana organization which honors the environmental restoration and consulting firm of JF New, the nature center now has a fresh start.
Spring field trips were offered thanks to this grant, says Reed. However, in order to ensure lasting operation of the nature center, further support in the form of volunteering, donations, grants and fundraising events are crucial to its success.
Contact the nature center at 616-675-3158 or visit their website for more information.
“A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life.