Woodlawn Nature Center Turns 50!

Woodlawn Nature Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Sunday, June 28th, from noon until 5 pm. The celebration will include fun and education for the whole family, from young children to seasoned adults.

For the 50th Celebration, a variety of activities are planned. At 1:30, see a demonstration from the Elkhart Urban Wood Utilization and Forestry Program. At 2pm, the mayor will read a proclamation, followed by a commemorative tree planting.

Woodlawn Nature Center Ground Breaking - Circa. 1965

Woodlawn Nature Center Ground Breaking – Circa. 1965

Entry for the event is $1/person. Entrance includes tours of the Center, door prizes (including boy and girl bikes), cake and ice cream, scavenger hunts, games, demonstrations by the city forester, a chainsaw carving demonstration, and more.

Woodlawn Nature Center stared as a vision of Dorothy Greenleaf Boynton who donated the land to the city for the study of flora and fauna in 1965. Woodlawn Nature Center’s mission is “to intimately connect as many people as possible to nature, natural history, and our future on this planet.” The Center has been operating continuously since then, offering various field trips, community clubs, programs, and events.

Many community members have been involved with Woodlawn Nature Center in the past, whether as a board member or director, volunteer, employee, or through a field trip visit. Dr. Carla Gull, field trip coordinator, mentions, “Many people remember visiting the Nature Center 20-30 years ago on school field trips. They enjoyed this experience and are excited to share it once again with their children and grandchildren.” If you have visited or been involved with Woodlawn in the past, the center would love to hear your recollections and stories. Please send them to woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com. The Nature Center continues to offer field trips to our area schools, preschools, and summer programs, as well as nature play and other community programs.

Today, Woodlawn Nature Center operates as a small museum of natural history, nestled in 10 acres of forest and meadow close to downtown Elkhart. The park is a sanctuary for native flora and fauna, with lovely wildflowers each spring and active wildlife year round. Inside the Center, visitors find a dinosaur digging cave, Native artifact collection, the most extensive local mastodon exhibit in the area, large nest and egg collection, wildlife dioramas, seashell display, wetland wonders room, wildlife viewing window, and a nature library. Outside, explore the wooded hiking trails, the outdoor nature play area, and a variety of native trees and plants.

Woodlawn Nature Center’s woods and natural history museum are located within the Elkhart City limits on Woodlawn Avenue, two blocks East of Cassopolis Street.  The Center is open Thursday and Friday from 1PM to 5 PM, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm, or by special appointment. Woodlawn Nature Center celebrates 50 years in Elkhart in 2015. Visit woodlawnnature.org to view upcoming programs and events.

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