The Nature Center at the Center for Wildlife

Nature Centers have been connecting our communities to their environment since 1920 when the first one was opened in Yellowstone.  An up close and personal opportunity to interact with and connect with wildlife and the environment builds connection and empathy, and will spark or re-ignite a curiosity and passion for local ecosystems for our community. As development of natural spaces increases, so does a need for and desire to conserve and protect wildlife for learning about, connecting with, and protecting the natural world.  Based on current visitation, programming, and feedback from the public, we conservatively expect over 20,000 visitors within our first year. 

 

Our Nature Center includes 1,200 square feet of indoor space in our new facility, wildlife ambassadors, hands on education tools like a vernal pool exhibit, empathy building experiences and ecological concepts.  Outdoor and experiential elements like a pollinator garden, natural climbing boulders, and sensory garden will illuminate the benefits of connecting with nature and our wild neighbors, the adverse effects of development on wildlife and how to minimize impact, as well as helping our community to steward local ecosystems for our wild neighbors and themselves.  As a result of visiting our Nature Center, participants will be challenged and empowered to increase their empathy, leading to action towards a positive relationship with their surrounding wildlife and habitats.  This will help them to appreciate their rural environments, their backyards, and surroundings as a sanctuary, and a place to explore, protect and steward.

 

Nature is fundamental to discovering who you really are, that you are not a person apart from nature, but a part of nature and by taking care of nature, you are taking care of yourself and then others.  The more young people discover their connection to land and place, and the more older generations continue or reignite that connection, the more they are awed by it.  Childhood experiences in nature can later inform ethical positions about land use and care.  Our Nature Center, with its experiential hands on learning through free exploration, touch tables, sensory learning, dramatic play, and more will provide a strong foundation and scaffolding for the building of self as well as an empathetic and healthy community.

How You Can Help!

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areas in the Nature Center

Sensory Learning

  • Sensory Gardens of lavender, bee balm, sage, lemon balm and more

  • Sensory Tables of water, sand, dirt, and natural materials to explore

  • Dramatic Play area that allows children of all ages to build empathy with our wild neighbors by “walking in their paws” through dress up and puppetry

  • Our bio parts will allow community members to feel what a wing feels like, experience the bottom of an osprey foot, what talons feel like, and more

  • Sensory Stations will allow our community to experience nature through scents that they will come across while exploring on their own

Free Exploration

  • Boulder garden provides a safe place to start exploring the natural world and positive risk taking

  • Mud Kitchen will allow children to explore the food web and learn natural history

  • Bird Blind will include identification charts, binoculars, and educational docents to help ignite curiosity and connection to our wild birds

  • Trails and pathways with interpretive signage will allow safe and guided space for our community members to explore and make connections with the wild flora and fauna that they will find in their own communities

  • Natural blocks and sticks will be available for building and unstructured play

Nature Indoors

  • The Nature Center Tree, which will be the central focal point of our indoor area, will inspire a cozy reading nook or acting out how a wild animal might move in their habitat

  • Taxidermy specimens inside and on the tree will highlight the ecological concept of resource partitioning and where community members can find species in their own back yards

  • Our Vernal Pool exhibit will be the only one of its kind in the state.  We have received special permits and permission from the State of Maine to have local species found in our vernal pools on display

  • Turtle and snake ambassadors will display natural and personal habits and behaviors along with hands-on experience with our community under our docent’s guidance

Personal Connections

  • Our unique family of 30 non-releasable native wild animal ambassadors will be on display, connecting with our community members that come to visit.  For example, Violet our turkey vulture, will be found enjoying herself on her perch, curiously looking at newcomers

  • Education docents will be available to teach about our ambassadors’ natural histories, conduct daily activities like feeding demonstrations, share animal’s personal histories, and to answer any questions that people may have while visiting

  • Onsite programming will include tours, exploration of our vernal pools and education campus, programming for all ages including Owl Prowls, Bat Box Building Workshops, Yoga with Falcons, and Reading with Raptors, Nature as My Muse, and more

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For Naming Opportunities, please contact Kristen Lamb, Executive Director, at kristen@thecenterforwildlife.org

For more information or collaboration offers, please contact Sarah at sarah@thecenterforwildlife.org

Physical Address

385 Mountain Road, Cape Neddick, ME 03902

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 620, Cape Neddick, ME 03902

Call Us

(207) 361-1400

Email

info@thecenterforwildlife.org