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Categorized | Outdoors

Nature center opens doors to public this fall

Fall is one of the best times to visit the Howard Christensen Nature Center

A decrease in biting insects and increase in color make September and October two of the most popular months to visit the Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC) in Kent City. This year the nature center, which is about 20 miles north of downtown Grand Rapids, offers both new programs and returning favorites.

A new event will be held at HCNC on September 19, 2009. It is a kick-off celebration from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. for the county-wide “Connecting Families With Nature” Passport Program. Although the focus of the day will be to promote a cross-generational appreciation of nature, guided hikes and refreshments will be available for all visitors.

Family groups, which can include children and parents, grandparents, or any other adult mentor, are invited to pick-up a free “Connecting Families with Nature” Passport at HCNC and get started filling in their passport. Those children who complete the passport can attend a special party at the John Ball Zoo on September 25, 2010. Additional “Connecting Families With Nature” events will be scheduled throughout the year. Learn more about the passport program at the kick-off celebration (on September 19), or visit www.kentconservation.org/families for more information.

Returning events at the Howard Christensen Nature Center include a Home School Student Workshop on October 2, and the Kent Conservation District (KCD) Fall Seedling Sale pick-up on October 10. Registration information for the Home School Workshop can be found on-line, along with the KCD Seedling Catalog (www.kentconservation.org). These events require advance orders or registration.

On October 10 and 17 from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., the nature center’s Red Pine Interpretive Center will be open so that visitors can view the educational displays inside as well as the fall colors on the hiking trails. A drawing for a “Fall Colors Art Raffle,” sponsored by the Rockford Sportsman’s Club to benefit the nature center, will be held on October 17, at 1:00 p.m. Please contact the nature center for details about the raffle by calling (616) 675-3158, or (866) 675-3158, or send an e-mail to hcnc@kentconservation.org. Proceeds from the raffle will help support programs such as field trips for school groups and Snowshoe Saturdays for the public. Volunteers are also needed to help with the fall open houses, grounds maintenance, and upcoming snowshoe days.

The Howard Christensen Nature Center is managed by the Kent Conservation District and the trails are open for hiking and cross country skiing everyday from dawn until dusk.

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