The Howard Christensen Nature Center in Kent City, Michigan, has had it's share of funding ups and downs. It has closed and been re-owned multiple times over the years, most recently shutting it's doors this last January due to lack of funding. Lucky for nature-lovers (and area homeschoolers!) they found a way to re-open in May and maintain management by a new independent non-profit group, Lily's Frog Pad, Inc.
They featured a free Junior Naturalist Day for all ages, July 14, and we picked up a fellow homeschool friend to join us for an afternoon of adventure. It was a wonderful day. Their Red Pine Interpretive Center was filled with various stations of exploration. The kids got to move at their own pace for hours as they studied salamanders, bug specimen, animal exhibits and more. They had great activities, such as using various tools like tweezers, staple removers, pliers, droppers, etc. meant to represent the different beaks and bills of various birds to pick up fish, worms and stuffed mice, and to break open seeds.
We signed up for some future classes and really look forward to returning soon. If you live anywhere near the area, I highly recommend spending a day there, even just to visit the amazing trails they have featured throughout the 135 acres, or to check out some of the fantastic educational programs they have lined up. It is an exciting blessing to have this establishment available to the public. It needs support from those who value environment, education and God's design in nature to keep it alive for good.
A Volunteer Work Day at HCNC/Lily's Frog Pad is scheduled on Saturday, July 23 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Volunteers are needed to do work both inside and outside the buildings. Games, food and drinks are planned as well as the work! The event is scheduled rain or shine. Contact Cindy Perski at the nature center to sign-up or find out more. Call 616-675-3158 or www.lilysfrogpad.com.