The Perfect Nature Center

Hello, Dear Readers. Would you do me a favor?

At the Audubon Center where I work, we are in the midst of some serious strategic planning that will result in an updated Education Plan (that will lead to an updated Building and Grounds Plan, etc.)

Big Sugar Maple at AudubonThose of you who read this blog are an interesting mix of people – precisely the kinds of people we would love to have walking through the doors of the Center on a regular basis. So let me ask you: If you could design the perfect Nature Center FOR YOU – the one that would get you down there for walks, visits, and attending programs – what would it look like? What kinds of programs would lure you down? What kinds of events would you attend? What kinds of facilities would make you think of us – even for things not related to nature? What kinds of volunteer opportunities would you find most rewarding.

I’m not looking for “you-oughta” answers. I’m looking for intensely personal answers. What would get YOU down to a nature center?

If you want to answer confidentially to me, you can use this form. If you want other readers to see and possibly reply to what you’ve written, leave a comment.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.

2 thoughts on “The Perfect Nature Center

  1. LOL – I filled in the form that sent you an email. I don’t mind that others see. Maybe it will spur some ideas. Here’s what I wrote “privately” by accident.

    I guess I would not be as concerned about the physical facility as I would be about what was available in it. I’d like to see pamphlets describing the flora and fauna I might see on the trails – especially with a map showing where particular flora could be found (and perhaps when they are in bloom – for those that do bloom).

    Audubon is famous for its attention to birds (a matter in which I have developed no expertise) so I would be looking for info on how to id the birds that are there. How can I tell a redtail hawk from an osprey? Are there any there? Where would I see them?

    Maybe the facility could be helpful there too, by providing info-stations on various species of birds. Each station would have a few photos, maybe a 3D model, diagrams of flight patterns, and a recording of the bird’s various calls and songs. These should be rotated out when the bird migrates out of the area and replaced with a species that IS in the area. In short, the station should help me recognize the bird when I venture onto the trails. Bonus points for letting visitors check out one of those playback devices you get in some museums for self-guided tours. Press H4 to hear a cedar waxwing. Or maybe a royalty-free MP3 download station that visitors could load bird calls onto their own devices. Or a smartphone app.

    A lot of people (me included) prefer to learn by studying on their own – maybe they are too shy to approach even a friendly looking staff member (until they get to know them anyhow). Thanks for asking. I’m surprised (and saddened) that no one else has responded.

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