Nature Play Rushes in the Fall Weather

Native Artifacts

Woodlawn Nature Center continues to host opportunities for nature play in the month of October. Several opportunities are available.

November 6—Nature Play: Fall Fruits, 10am-noon
Harvest time and fruits are a big part of the fall experience. Explore fall fruits and vegetables through this nature play time.

November 18—Homeschool Nature Play: First People, 1-3 pm
Join other homeschooling families to explore nature and First People of our area at Woodlawn Nature Center. The Center, trails, and outdoor classroom will be available, with extra materials and activities for this open play session.

November 20—Nature Play: Oh Deer!, 10am-noon
Deer are all around us. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? What do they need to survive? Explore deer and related animals.

November 21—Family Nature Club: First People 10-11:30 am
Explore the First People of our area with other families at the monthly family nature club. After a short presentation exploring the First People of the Great Lakes, the group will explore the trails to see how native people might have used Woodlawn Woods. Enjoy exploring native artifacts and entering the wigwam. After, have fun with nature play time!

Nature Play is an open-ended time to explore nature with other families. The dinosaur digging cave, wigwam, wildlife window and other exhibits at Woodlawn Nature Center are open during this time with additional activities connected to the theme, including art, literature, and nature related activities. Examine artifacts and nature up close! The cost is $3/child or free for members.

The Family Nature Club is free with a short presentation, guided hike, and time to explore the center.

Creatures of the Night Festival

Children in costume exploring coyotes.

Children in costume exploring coyotes.

Creatures of the Night Festival
October 10, 2015: Creatures of the Night Fest, 5:30-8:30pm (last entrance at 8:00)
$4/person, $2/members–cash, please
Costumes encouraged

"Nocturnal animals, they come out at night!" --Banana Slug Band

“Nocturnal animals, they come out at night!” –Banana Slug Band

Take a hike along Woodlawn’s Woods to learn about creatures of the night and gather a few treats! You will learn about owls, coyotes, raccoons, and other creatures of the night. Children are encouraged to wear costumes. Please dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. This event is rain or shine. End the evening with a light snack and craft inside Woodlawn Nature Center.

Fall 2015 Nature Preschool Program

Dr. Carla Gull leads a few of the Nature Preschool children on a color hike in Woodlawn's woods.

Dr. Carla Gull leads a few of the Nature Preschool children on a color hike in Woodlawn’s woods.

Woodlawn Nature Center presents a fall session of nature based preschool programs. The active program runs for ten sessions. The group meets on most Mondays from 9:30 to 11:30 am, starting September 14. Children explore topics through edible crafts, nature exploration, playtime, story time, and art projects. The children and adult caregiver will also connect with nature in Woodlawn’s recently certified outdoor classroom, including stations for nature art, music and movement, messy materials play, digging, building, natural weaving, loose parts, and more.

In The Geography of Childhood, Stephen Tremble proclaimed, “As children, we need time to wander, to be outside, to nibble on icicles, watch ants, to build with dirt and sticks in the hollow of the earth, to lie back and contemplate clouds . . .” Woodlawn Nature Center strives to facilitate these experiences through open ended preschool experiences centered on seasonal themes. Past participants have enjoyed the “interaction with other kids and moms. After preschool my child was so much more aware and excited about things in nature.”

Woodlawn Nature Center creates open-ended preschool experiences centered on seasonal themes of nature. Themes for the spring session include senses, trees, nocturnal animals, fall fruits, Woodland Indians, wild turkey, fall harvest, and a natural holiday. The cost is $45 for the ten-week session if prepaid by September 1, with a discount for members of Woodlawn Nature Center. Spots are limited and are filling up quickly for the popular program. Each session includes a craft, hike, story time, edible craft, nature exploration, and more! For more information or to sign up, please contact Woodlawn Nature Center at woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com or calling 574-966-0250. Sign up online at: https://woodlawnnature.org/programs-and-events/woodlawnnaturepreschool/fall-nature-preschool-program/

Nurturing Acorns, Mondays, 9:30-11:30

September 14—Sensational Senses

September 21—Terrific Trees

September 28—The Gruffalo

October 5—Owls, Bats, and Spiders

October 12—Nocturnal Animals

October 26—Halloween Nature Fun

November 2—Fall Fruits

November 9—Woodland Indians/Oh Deer!

November 16—Fall Harvest/Wild Turkeys

November 30—A Natural Holiday

Entrance Fee Change, Free Days, and Holiday Closure

Loose Parts Play

Starting July 1st, 2015, Woodlawn Nature Center will charge $3/person or $10 a family for entrance into the museum. General admittance is free for members. Consider enjoying membership privileges today.

Woodlawn Nature Center will be closed on July 3rd and 4th in observance of Independence Day. The trails will be open from dawn to dusk. Enjoy the holiday!

On July 5th, Woodlawn Nature Center will offer free admittance to celebrate Elkhart Municipal Building’s 100th Anniversary.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Woodlawn Wish List

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Woodlawn Nature Center appreciates community support. People often ask how they can help. Here are a few things we need or would like to expand our program. Thank you so much!

Wish List:

  • Paper Towels
  • Toilet Paper
  • Liquid Soap
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Dish Detergent
  • Black Oil Sunflower Seed
  • Suet Cakes
  • Hopper Bird Feeders
  • Garden Plants
  • Native Plants
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Ribbons
  • Yarn
  • Tree Cookies
  • Pencils
  • Craft Supplies
  • Gift Cards for Craft or Local Stores for Supplies
  • Galvanized Tubs
  • Child Sized Galvanized Buckets
  • Child Sized Gardening Tools
  • Fish Food
  • Turtle Food
  • Large Light Table
  • Water Pump
  • Flight Lab
  • Mobile Mag Wall
  • Natural “Loose Parts” such as buckeyes, hedge apples, milkweed pods, acorns, and other natural items

If you would like to donate items, please email us at woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com or call Dr. Carla Gull at (574)966-0250. Thank you!

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.

Minecraft Mania at Woodlawn Nature Center

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Minecraft Mania at Woodlawn Nature Center

Woodlawn Nature Center will host an event to experience the “natural side” of Minecraft to bring the popular computer game to life. There will be live animals, a themed snack, games, and many hands-on stations to help understand the natural world. The program is geared for ages 8-12. Contact Woodlawn for younger ages. The fee is $10/child or $8/member. Please preregister and pay by May 25th by emailing woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com and sending payment to Woodlawn Nature Center, Attn: Treasurer, 604 Woodlawn Avenue, Elkhart, IN 46514. Please include the child’s name, age, gender, a contact email, phone number, and an address.

The Education Coordinator, Dr. Carla Gull, found her own children enthralled by the computer program. As they talked about planting seeds, chopping down trees, and dyeing wool, she realized she needed to learn more about the program. Her children had a hilarious time teaching her how to play and brainstorming the natural connections. The education coordinator mentioned, “Children on geology field trips were always so excited when I brought out obsidian and wondered if I had a pick axe. When I played Minecraft, I understood the children were learning about these through the computer program.” Woodlawn Nature Center looks forward to helping connect children to nature through the program.

Questions about the program? Please call Carla Gull at 966-0250. 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 from 1PM to 5 PM and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5pm, or by special appointment. Woodlawn Nature Center celebrates 50 years in Elkhart in 2015.

Natural Weaving at Woodlawn Nature Center

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Explore Natural Weaving at Woodlawn

The public is invited to visit Woodlawn Nature Center to explore weaving in the natural world on Saturday, May 16 at 10 am. One of the Center’s educators, Dr. Carla Gull, will lead an interactive presentation to introduce several animals that “weave”, such as the beaver, Baltimore Oriole, spiders, and tent caterpillars. Participants will also explore environmental artists, such as Andy Goldsworthy and Patrick Dougherty, who use weaving techniques with natural materials as part of their artwork. Richard P. Feynman stated, “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry.”

The group will try various options to create garden looms, portable weaving techniques, and more. They will create a simple cardboard loom to use for an optional hike in the woods and can also try the garden loom in the natural playscape area on the grounds at Woodlawn Nature Center. Reservations are appreciated by emailing woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com. The program is geared for ages 6 through adult. It will be of particular interest to those who like learning about animals, artists, and enjoy creating with natural materials. This beginning workshop is geared for all skill levels.

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 from 1PM to 5 PM and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5pm, or by special appointment. Woodlawn Nature Center celebrates 50 years in Elkhart in 2015.

See the event page on Facebook here.

2014 Annual Report and Member’s Meeting

On March 18, 2015, members and the board met for the annual meeting. Various committees reported on activity in 2014, including the following topics from the presentation outline.

Woodlawn Nature Center Ground Breaking - Circa. 1965

Woodlawn Nature Center Ground Breaking – Circa. 1965

Opening Slide: Woodlawn Nature Center, 2015 Annual Members Meeting, 18 March 2015

Slide 1: Agenda, Welcome, Introduction of the Candidates, Annual Report, Collection and Counting of ballots, 50th Anniversary Celebration, Benefits of being a Woodlawn Member, Announcement of 2015 Board of Directors

Slide 2: Candidates: Karin Frey, Dr. Carla Gull, Grant Humbarger, Vicci Moore, Catherine Reedy, Jeff Smith, Crystal Welsh,

Slide 3: Annual Report and Planning For Our Future: Financial, Programs and Events, Governance, Strategic Planning

Slide 4: Financial Summary

Slide 5: Programs and Events

Almost 30 Field Trips: 195 Adults, 1036 Children

Nature Nook Book Group

Natural Playscape

Sam’s Music Fest, Walt Myers (prehistoric artist), Living Trails

Nature preschool programming

Community Outreach

Slide 6: Governance Committee

Bylaws

Board Training

Procedures for Voting and Nominating

Slide 7: Strategic Planning

Policies and procedures

Excellent nature education programming

Develop facilities to be good steward

Maintain and increase resources

Model “green” practices

Enhance physical facilities—floor, cleanliness, natural playscape, rain garden

Sustainable operating plan

Slide 8: 50th Anniversary Celebration

June 26, 27 and 28

26th – Members’ Dinner

27th – Celebration Events

28th – Ice Cream Social and Games

Slide 9: Benefits of being a Woodlawn Member

Free General Admission to the Center

Discount for special events & programs

Use of facilities privileges*

Camping and campfire privileges

Newsletter*

ANCA reciprocity for preferred levels

Volunteer opportunities

Slide 9: Responsibilities of Being a Woodlawn Member

Provide suggestions and feedback for center’s operation and programming

Promote Woodlawn’s mission in the community

Vote in annual elections

Attend annual meeting

Participate as desired in the center’s events, programs, committees and management

Slide 10: Updated Membership Fee Schedule

Senior/Student – $15

Individual – $20

Family – $35

Preferred – $60

Contributing – $100

Lifetime – $500

Corporate Sponsor – $1,000

Gold Sponsor – $5,000

Slide 11: Upcoming Events: Nature Play Sessions, Family Nature Club Meetings, Gardening Classes, Wildflower Evening Brunch, Minecraft Mania, Get Outside Day, International Mud Day, 50th Anniversary Celebration

Slide 12: Thank you for participating in the Woodlawn Nature Center’s Annual Members Meeting. We look forward to a successful 2015!

Wildflower Dinner and Hike Planned at Woodlawn Nature Center

Trillium in Woodlawn Nature Center Woods

Trillium in Woodlawn Nature Center Woods 

Breakfast for dinner? Most definitely! Join Woodlawn Nature Center on May 2nd at 5:30 pm for an evening brunch and wildflower walk! Participate in a short presentation on spring wildflowers inside with “brinner”. Then head outside to discuss the beautiful spring ephemerals. Take home a laminated spring wildflower guide. The cost is $15/person. Reservations and prepayment required by April 28th at woodlawnnaturecenteronline@gmail.com or by calling 966-0250.

The woods near Woodlawn Nature Center are home to many spring wildflowers. Trillium, Virginia Bluebells, Bloodroot, Mayapple, Dutchman’s Breeches, Wild Ginger, and Trout Lily are just a few of the spring ephemerals that line the trails. Each flower has a special story.

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 from 1PM to 5 PM and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 5pm, or by special appointment. Woodlawn Nature Center celebrates 50 years in Elkhart in 2015.