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NELSONVILLE, Ohio—As the April opening of the Hocking College Nature Center draws near, the community now has a chance to leave its mark on the new center and help fund its educational mission for years to come.

As visitors walk through the center’s native plant garden, they’ll have the opportunity to see the names of the people and organizations who helped make the center come to life.

Nature Center 1You can join that group by donating to help sustain the center. For a donation of $100, community members will have a personalized message of up to 3 lines (51 characters) engraved on a four-by-eight-inch brick. A $200 donation will provide an eight-by-eight-inch brick with six lines of text (102 characters).

“The nature center will be a showcase for the students in natural resources programs and other programs at Hocking College,” Dr. Dan Kelley, dean of the School of Natural Resources, said. “It will be one of the jewels of Hocking College’s campus, and we’re excited to give the community a chance to own a piece of this beautiful new community learning space.”

Parks and Museum Education students did the design work and engaged community focus groups for the new center. Carpentry and Electrical students have worked on the renovations of the building. Fish Management students will care for the aquariums and manage the fish population in the nature center. Agroecology students will plant and maintain the garden. Other students from the School of Natural Resources will help lead programs and work at the nature center.

Nature Center 2jpgIn addition to the native garden, the center will have state-of-the-art interactive exhibits on trees, geology, pollinator habitats and more. The center will also be home to native Ohio animals, like fish, turtles, snakes and a descented skunk.

These exhibits, plus ample room for classes and the knowledge of the faculty, staff and students of one of the preeminent two-year natural resources schools in the country, will make the new Hocking College Nature Center a destination for local classes, families and tourists to the greater Hocking Hills region.

“We’re in the middle of one of the greatest natural resources teaching environments in the country,” Kelley said of the forests surrounding Hocking College. “With this new lab, our students will be able to continue the long tradition of sharing the knowledge they’re learning with the community in a beautiful new and accessible space.”

Nature Center 3To see your name or that of a loved one on a brick, use the online order form available at https://naturecenter.hocking.edu/brick-donation. For more information, contact Cole Potts by email at naturecenter@hocking.edu or call the School of Natural Resources office at 740-753-6304.

The new nature center will be in the former daycare center on the south end of the college’s Nelsonville campus. Funding to support the development of the Hocking College Nature Center has been provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Hocking College Foundation and private donors. It will meet standards from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Zoological Association of America.

Person in hiking boots standing on hill