The Pioneers Park Nature Center
Most every school child has a story about the nature center.
In the 1930’s, three small ponds were dug on the land that would become Lincoln’s own Nature Center with the hope they would be a waterfowl refuge. This 40 acre wildlife sanctuary, located within Lincoln’s Pioneers Park, was originally called the Chet Ager Bird and Wildlife Nature Study Sanctuary. Then on May 21st, 1963 it was dedicated as the Pioneers Park Nature Center (PPNC). In 1964 the Chet Ager Building was constructed with one paid naturalist hired to lead tours.
Today the Pioneers Park Nature Center includes two interpretive facilities, 668 acres of woodland, wetland, and prairie habitats, and over eight miles of trails. A full service conference and reception facility for rent in a natural setting, gift shop, live animal exhibits, an accredited pre-school, and nature camps for kids.
There are dozens of nature programs for children, adults, and parent child teams. Approximately 30 trained interpretive staff annually lead over 16,000 school children, scouts, and others on natural history interpretive programs. If you have had a child in the past thirty years, they have visited the nature center on interpretive school hikes. In the next 10 years every LPS fourth grader will participate
in an all day Prairie Emersion Hike at the Nature Center with their class and learn about Nebraska’s early Native peoples, pioneers, and settlers.
There are more than 200 volunteers providing support for the staff and programs at the Nature Center along with the Friends of The Pioneers Park Nature Center who promote, support , and help fund the development of programming and daily operations at the Nature Center.
Little did I know that 50 years ago as a child when my parents took my sisters and me on a drive around the loop at Pioneers Park to view the bison and other animals from our car that one day I would be on staff at the Nature Center. And now after 13 years on staff I feel I have been privileged to be able to watch kids of all ages discover magic spots in the woods, chase butterflies, and dream as the clouds float above the prairie grasses while the meadowlarks sing.
Supporting the Pioneers Park Nature Center so kids and their families have a no cost place to enjoy nature and play outdoors is critical to the health and well being of all our citizens. Show you care with a donation, contribution, or sponsorship at the Nature Center. Learn more about what the Nature Center has to offer on line at:: http://lancaster.ne.gov/city/parks/naturecenter/index.htm