About Us


Just minutes away from the downtown urban core, Cincinnati Nature Center offers tranquility and solace among more than 1,700 acres of forests, fields, streams and ponds. With nearly 20 miles of award-winning trails on two picturesque properties, the Nature Center provides spectacular experiences for people of all ages during all seasons. From enchanting spring wildflowers to the dazzling colors of autumn, the ever-changing beauty of nature attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year.

With more members than any other nature center in the country, Cincinnati Nature Center provides the community with a unique and valuable education resource for innovative, nature-based learning opportunities in a variety of formats. School field trips, family and adult seasonal programming, summer camps, teacher retreats, in-school programs and volunteer classes all help connect individuals with nature.

Board of Directors


Stanley M. Rowe, Sr. (1890-1987)

Mission: Our Purpose

Inspiring conservation

Spring Natural Treasures Graphic

Stories Our Land Tells 

Learning to Live Lightly on the Land: Restoration and Sustainability

The Cincinnati Nature Center community strives to preserve, protect and restore this land and to educate people about ways to minimize their own ecological footprint on the land. Through environmental education, “leave no trace” trail rules, stream and wetland mitigation, invasive species removal, native plant propagation, green building techniques, and research, the Nature Center seeks to help people enhance and protect the earth’s biodiversity for generations to come.

Educational Philosophy

In 2010, Cincinnati Nature Center's Education Committee presented a landmark document to the Board of Directors for approval. Called Making Nature Personal, this document was the result of months of research and discussion and explained a shift in thinking about what nature centers like Cincinnati Nature Center can and cannot accomplish. The second edition incorporates new findings, removes dated program information, and improves readability. 

Read the full report by Connie O’Connor, Education and Visitor Services Director, and the Education Committee, Making Nature Personal: Cincinnati Nature Center’s Educational Philosophy, Second Edition 2013.

Philosophy 1
Science-based nature interpretation is more effective than environmental education.

Philosophy 2
Empowering nature enthusiasts to share their values can have a positive impact on the broader community.

Philosophy 3
Children should get outside frequently, starting at an early age.

Philosophy 4
Family members and other significant adults in children’s lives are the best role models to connect them to nature.

Philosophy 5
Enthusiastic school teachers are important allies in connecting children to nature.


Thank you to our Corporate Sponsors!

Cincinnati Nature Center events and programs provide unique marketing opportunities for sponsorships at all levels, with packages tailored to individual sponsor needs. In addition to increased visibility and brand recognition, a partnership with the Nature Center demonstrates your organization’s commitment to the environment and conservation of the natural world.

For information on sponsorship opportunities and customized packages, please contact Tracy Smith, our marketing manager, at tsmith@cincynature.org. 

Press Room

For media inquiries or to schedule a media visit, please contact: media@cincynature.org or (513) 965-4899.

Career Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in employment with Cincinnati Nature Center. The Nature Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

Group of interns

Environmental Interpretation Internship 2018-2019

  • Do you love to share your passion for nature with children and others of all ages?
  • Would you like to develop yourself as a professional with a wide range of experiences?
  • Does it thrill you to apply creativity and innovation to your projects by thinking outside of the box?
  • Do you enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors?

The Environmental Interpretation Internship at Cincinnati Nature Center might be for you!

Five highly selective environmental interpretation internships are available in the Education Department at our Rowe Woods location in Milford, OH. Cincinnati Nature Center views today’s interns as tomorrow’s leaders. We heavily depend on the assistance, energy and talent of our interns, and we also strive to provide the kinds of professional job experiences that will help each intern be highly effective in their career. To this end, the Nature Center provides well-rounded training, on-the-job practice and appropriate levels of challenge at one of the largest and most well-known nature centers in the country. We also provide time for evaluation and reflection, along with portfolio and resume building and interview practice. We want our interns to move on to positions of influence and leadership throughout the country.

This is a paid, full-time, 9-month internship beginning in late August and running through the end of May. Housing is provided on site.

We are currently interviewing for our 2018-2019 cohort. Questions? Contact Brittney Torres at btorres@cincynature.org.

Financial Reports

All annual contributions and membership fees are spent as operating support in the fiscal year in which they are given.

Thanks to the generosity of members and donors, we are fortunate to have unrestricted assets at least five times our annual budget. These funds are treated as endowment to support Cincinnati Nature Center operations in future years and allow us to respond to future needs such as land acquisition.

2020 Annual Report

2019 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

2017 Annual Report

2016 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report 

Terms & Conditions

Cincinnati Nature Center has created this privacy statement to demonstrate our firm commitment to privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: www.CincyNature.org.

This site contains links to other sites. Cincinnati Nature Center is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.

Information Collection and Use
Cincinnati Nature Center is the sole owner of the information collected on this site. We will not sell, share, or rent this information to others in ways different from what is disclosed in this statement. Cincinnati Nature Center collects information from our users at several different points on our website.

This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control.

Notification of Changes
If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on our Homepage so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

Log Files
We use IP addresses to analyze trends, administer the site, track user's movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Contacting the Website
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this website, please contact:

Cincinnati Nature Center
4949 Tealtown Road
Milford, OH 45150
(513) 831-1711

Admission Donations

Cincinnati Nature Center provides 1 Free Carload Admission Pass (estimated value $26) to qualifying organizations in support of their fundraising and community building activities. To receive a donation, the requesting organization must:

  • Be a registered nonprofit
  • Share our commitment to conservation, education, artistic expression or health and wellness
  • Serve the Greater Cincinnati region
  • Submit the request with a minimum of six weeks in advance of the event date through our online application
  • Allow a minimum of four weeks for processing



Cincinnati Nature Center reserves the right to decline requests.

Due to the large volume of requests, Cincinnati Nature Center limits the number of donations to one per organization per year.

Availability will change throughout the year. There may be periods when donations are not possible due to the volume of requests, reduced staffing, or other factors.

Community Event Request Application

Cincinnati Nature Center receives many requests to participate in off-site events arranged by outside organizations, schools, and businesses. Our off-site booths/displays are targeted at adults and, in addition to general information about the Nature Center, there are two themes to choose from: 

  • The Importance of Planting Native
  • The Health Benefits of Spending Time Outside 

If your adult group would prefer a lecture, please see the link below for prices and topics of Nature to Go presentations. Click Here.

If you are a school group and would like us to come to your site for a program, please contact Melissa Sabo, School Program Manager, at msabo@cincynature.org.

Though we make every effort to accept all requests we receive, we are not always able to do so. In order for your request to be considered please fill in the application below. We require a minimum 30-day notice in order to review submissions.  We encourage you to submit as early as possible.

Our Partnerships


General Questions:


513-831-1711 ext. 421

Celebration Garden:
(513) 774-1942

Venue Rentals

Media Contact:

513-831-1711 ext. 128

513-831-1711 ext. 138

School Groups: 
513-831-1711 ext. 138

Nature PlayScape:
513-831-1711 ext. 137

Nature Center Events & Programs:
513-831-1711 ext. 129

CincyNature Camp: 
513-831-1711 ext. 129

The Nature Shop: 
513-831-1711 ext. 102

Life Board of Directors

E. Rowley Elliston Richard D. Oliver
Louise A. Head Jane N. Stotts
Michael S. McGraw  
Stanley Rowe, Sr.
Stanley Rowe, Sr.

The Founding of Cincinnati Nature Center

For many years Stanley M. Rowe, Sr. had the vision of a wooded preserve where children of Cincinnati would be taught to appreciate and understand the natural world. In 1965, his vision became a reality with the creation of Cincinnati Nature Center. With the help of twelve dedicated and visionary naturalists, including Rosanne Krippendorf Adams, Marian Becker, Kay Benedict, Helen Black, Richard Deupree, Richard Durrell, Rowe Hoffman, Karl Maslowski, Kay Nyce, Fritz Rauh, Louise Rowe, and Louise Tate, the 175-acre wooded estate of Carl and Mary Krippendorf was acquired. A National Audubon Society evaluation confirmed that the site located in Perintown, Clermont County, which we now call Rowe Woods, was an excellent setting for a nature center.

The Nature Center opened to the public on Sunday, April 16, 1967, with five staff members and over 300 founding members.The original Krippendorf residence served as the first visitor center and director’s residence. School field trips began and members had access to hiking trails and natural history programs. As described in the Cincinnati Enquirer Pictorial Magazine in April of 1967, the founders believed very strongly that children needed to have a personal experience in nature.

In 1971, the Rowe Visitor Center opened on the edge of the recently built Powel Crosley Lake. This facility significantly expanded the capacity for members and school programs. In 1973, Neil McElroy, then Chairman of Procter and Gamble, and his wife, Camilla, donated their Long Branch Farm (LBF) in Goshen, Ohio, to Cincinnati Nature Center. They were interested in its preservation as green space and use in teaching people about the source of food and fiber. By 1975, Cincinnati Nature Center membership had grown to 3,214 and the Nature Center now preserved over 1,200 acres, including over 700 acres at Rowe Woods and 535 acres at Long Branch Farm.

In 1995, another gift of land in Evendale, Ohio, was made to the Nature Center by siblings Jim and Dorothy Gorman. They were fifth generation direct descendants of the Brown family which started farming this 100-acre parcel in 1835. Cincinnati Nature Center opened Gorman Heritage Farm in 1996 to tell the story of the small family farm in America. In order to sustain the property and programs financially, it was transferred in May 2004 to the Village of Evendale, which continues operation and serves the original vision set forth by the Gormans.

In September of 2004, Cincinnati Nature Center purchased 235 acres adjacent to Rowe Woods, previously owned by Grace Groesbeck, a close friend of the Krippendorfs. The Presbytery of Cincinnati had operated Wildwood Camp and Conference Center on the property since 1960, but could no longer afford to maintain it. This acquisition expanded our trail system, provided a new home for our summer day camp, preserved a mature forest, and added to the Nature Center’s cultural history of people and the land.

Today, Cincinnati Nature Center’s two sites, Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm & Trails, comprise more than 1,600 acres of irreplaceable natural and agricultural land. The Nature Center has grown to be one to the top 10 nature centers in the country, while remaining true to its original mission of connecting people, especially children, to the natural world.

The Groesbeck Estate and Its Cultural Significance by Jane Stotts, CNC historian and honorary trustee (PDF)

Our Roots in Review: Tracking CNC’s Rich Cultural History, by Jane Stotts (PDF)

Values: What We Believe

  1. Power of COMMUNITY
    We encourage people to see themselves as part of a community of nature enthusiasts within the community of nature. The Nature Center embraces Aldo Leopold’s definition of community, which “enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively the land.”
  2. RESPECT for All Life
    We show respect for all living things by seeking to understand, by celebrating diverse viewpoints, and by acting with kindness and empathy.
  3. Personal EXPERIENCE
    There is no substitute for being IN nature. We maintain our lands for maximum biodiversity to provide unique personal experiences and education. Frequent experiences in nature are critical to the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health of all people.
  4. STEWARDSHIP of the Land
    We recognize the interdependence of all living things and strive to maintain the web of life by preserving, restoring, and protecting our land. We embrace Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold 1949.
  5. Commitment to SUSTAINABILITY
    We make choices that are environmentally responsible, economically viable, and socially equitable for the long-term stability of our organization, our region and the earth.
Summer Hidden Ocean Graphic

Natural History: A Forest Over Sea

Our lands are part of an Eastern deciduous forest which once covered more than 90% of Ohio’s landscape. The old growth trees at Rowe Woods have been spared while many forests throughout the state have been destroyed. Forest is still the state’s dominant plant community, but other habitats occur, including ponds, fields, streams, and wetlands providing an incredible diversity of habitats and plant and animal species. The fields and pastures at Long Branch Farm & Trails have been managed for food production since the forests were cleared by pioneers. Long before the forests, a shallow ocean covered this land, as evident by fossils found in the Ordovician shale and limestone bedrock. Throughout the long span of history, this area has seen continent shifting, climate change, and geologic change which carved the landscape and influenced species diversity. 

Strengthening The Bond Of People With Nature

Cincinnati Nature Center believes that by supporting and strengthening the bond of people with nature, we better enable them to share their values for, experiences in, and knowledge about nature with others. This approach is intended to increase the overall number of people who feel connected to nature. The Nature Center encourages positive values toward nature for people of all ages, so that throughout their lives, their behaviors will increasingly reflect these values. 

School Program

School Program

In the early 2000s, we began to see a decline in school field trip attendance due to reduced school funding and school administrative decisions that more classroom time was necessary to improve standardized test scores. Today, Cincinnati Nature Center is in the midst of a redesign of our school program which now includes a focus on training teachers to incorporate nature into their own curricula. A field trip to Rowe Woods is often part of this larger program, rather than just a one-time experience. 

Park National Bank logo

Nature PlayScape Mud Zone Sponsor


In the News


https://photos.citybeat.com/14-drive-thru-and-walk-thru-holiday-light-shows-in-cincinnati-for-2021/?slide=10&cincinnati_nature_center_light_in_the_forest_photo_provided_by_cnc-618047e6183a2-61816e71d1afe - November 11, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/11/10/tickets-on-sale-now-for-light-in-the-forest - November 11, 2021


https://ohionewstime.com/holiday-light-display-illuminating-cincinnati-trails-next-month/279783/ - November 2, 2021


https://www.citybeat.com/arts-culture/culture/blog/21157710/light-in-the-forest-walkthru-holiday-light-show-returns-to-the-cincinnati-nature-center-in-milford - November 1, 2021


https://issuu.com/daycom/docs/cf1121 - Cincinnati Family Readers Poll Names Nature Center Best Local Park, November 1, 2021


https://local12.com/news/local/disappearing-act-cincinnati-nature-center-working-to-reverse-oak-tree-decline-cincinnati - October 11, 2021


https://www.wvxu.org/environment/2021-10-07/oak-trees-disappearing-cincinnati-nature-center - October 8, 2021 


https://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/article/theres-an-old-growth-forest-hiding-in-cincinnati/ - October 4, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/09/15/conservation-summit-hosted-by-teens-for-teens - September 16, 2021


https://greenumbrella.wildapricot.org/event-4485148 - September 15, 2021


https://moversmakers.org/2021/09/14/teens-to-host-nature-centers-third-annual-conservation-summit/ - September 14, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/08/25/cincinnati-nature-center-honors-ruthven-with-tribute-on-the-trails - Aug. 25, 2021


https://www.citybeat.com/arts-culture/visual-arts/blog/21154976/wildlife-art-of-cincinnati-painter-john-a-ruthven-to-be-exhibited-on-hiking-trails-at-cincinnati-nature-center - August 20, 2021


https://www.cincymagazine.com/greater-cincinnati-family-choice-awards-2021/ - July 15, 2021


https://www.cincinnati.com/story/entertainment/nightlife/bars-and-clubs/2021/07/08/highgrain-brewing-announced-release-tipper-spruce-tip-pale-ale-made-collaboration-cincinnati-nature/7781115002/ - July 8, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/07/08/nature-center-nurturing-hearts-and-minds-through-schoolyard-native-plant-program. - July 8, 2021


https://www.cincymagazine.com/best-of-the-east-2021/ - July 7, 2021


https://ohparent.com/10-cant-miss-playgrounds/ - June 7, 2021


https://moversmakers.org/2021/05/25/june-2021-digital-edition/ - May 25, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/05/20/cincinnati-nature-center-celebrates-national-trails-day - May 20, 2021


https://www.wvxu.org/post/i-just-had-get-out-how-nature-helping-during-covid#stream/0 - April 22, 2021


https://www.fox19.com/video/2021/04/22/free-scoop-graeter-earth-day/ - April 22, 2021


https://www.citybeat.com/food-drink/the-dish/blog/21151021/graters-and-larosas-locations-giving-out-free-pollinator-seed-packets-on-earth-day - April 22, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/04/15/cincinnati-nature-center-teams-up-with-graeters-and-larosas-to-provide-free-seed-packets-to-help-pollinators - April 15, 2021


https://www.clermontsun.com/2021/04/15/nature-center-cheers-native-plant-resolution - April 15, 2021


https://local12.com/news/local/cincinnati-nature-center-handing-out-free-seeds-for-earth-day - April 3, 2021


https://www.citybeat.com/special-section/blog/21150634/best-hiking-trail  - March 30, 2021


https://www.cincinnatimagazine.com/article/the-nature-playscape-at-cincinnati-nature-center-lets-kids-be-kids/ - March 23, 2021



To Request 1 Free Carload Admission Pass, use the online submission form to submit your request:

Cardinal Land Conservancy

Cardinal Land Conservancy is a nationally accredited land trust dedicated to protecting the last great places and working lands in southwest Ohio. We work with members and volunteers to monitor, manage and maintain the properties we own for the enjoyment of the public.

Visit Cardinal Land Conservancy.

Our Ongoing Commitments

Cincinnati Nature Center welcomes everyone to be a part of our visitor and member community. Our natural spaces are for every color, ethnicity, gender, religion, ability, age, and economic status. A diverse ecosystem is a healthy ecosystem. Likewise, a diverse community is a healthy community.

We are an equal opportunity employer. We believe that diversity brings strength, innovation, and cultural insights. We strive to retain a diverse team of employees and board members and we work hard to ensure that they preserve an empathetic mindset.

We maintain 20 miles of hiking trails and more than 1,700 acres of land to provide unique and personal experiences for everyone. Nature is not biased. Nature provides significant enhancements for everyone’s physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health.

To provide an accessible and welcoming atmosphere for everyone, we strive to connect people to nature in effective, authentic ways. We aspire to be OF/BY/FOR ALL our community. What that means to us:

  • The more we can be representative OF our community, the more people feel seen and heard.
  • The more programming is created BY our community, the more people feel ownership.
  • The more programming is FOR our community, the more everyone wants to participate.

OF/BY/FOR ALL is a global movement. For more information, visit www.ofbyforall.org.


Board of Directors

Regina R. Sharp    Jeffrey R. Corney, PhD
Chair  President/Executive Director
Scott Aaron Marge C. Anderson
Vice President Vice President
David T. Bohl Sarah Anness Evans
Vice President Vice President
William H. Fry Meri Johnson
Vice President Vice President
Irwin Simon Alex T. Parlin
Vice President Treasurer
Gates M. Moss  
Assistant Treasurer Secretary
Jana M. Beal Kyle Charles Brooks
Victoria W. Carr, Ed.D. John S. Ficks
Christy Kaeser Holmes John R. Jarnigo
Peter M. Kwiatkowski John Lucas
D. Lachlan C. Mclean Erica M. Spitzig
Michael U. Todd, MD  Abby Tuke
Laura Welles Wilson Anthony Woodward

Principles: How We Behave

  1. Provide a Welcoming Atmosphere
    We provide the best possible experience for each visitor by creating a welcoming atmosphere, maintaining a safe and natural environment, and respecting the individual’s point of view.
  2. Act with Integrity
    We maintain the trust of members, donors, and the community by observing the highest ethical standards and being accountable to all constituencies for the achievement of our mission.
  3. Provide Diverse Experiences and Educational Programs
    We immerse people in nature through a variety of individual and organized group activities. We engage people in frequent experiences in nature beginning at an early age.
  4. Empower People to Share their Love and Knowledge of Nature
    We foster an ethic of influence by providing opportunities for people to act on their conservation values through sharing with others, volunteer service, and financial contributions.
  5. Deliver Science-Based Interpretation
    We teach people how to think, not what to think. We provide hands-on, science-based interpretive experiences and utilize the inquiry method in our teaching. We define interpretation as “a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource.” National Association for Interpretation 2007.
  6. Collaborate
    We seek opportunities to build relationships in order to strengthen our community. Internally, we embrace a spirit of teamwork and mutual support with staff, volunteers, members, and visitors. Externally, we seek to partner with other organizations that have common objectives.
  7. Manage Our Lands
    We actively manage our lands to provide and maintain in perpetuity a mosaic of bio-diverse habitats for visitor experience, education, and research. We strive to maintain healthy ecosystems by enhancing, restoring, and preserving native biodiversity.
Fall Nature's Bounty Graphic

Cultural Heritage:
People Connected to this Land

Decisions and actions of people in the past have influenced current use of the land, just as our decisions and actions today will influence future use of this land. Through time, humans have depended on and loved this land. Native peoples lived and hunted here, followed by pioneers who cleared the forest for crops and homes. The Krippendorfs and neighboring Groesbecks left a legacy of botanical abundance while welcoming friends and family to experience the restorative powers of nature. At Long Branch Farm & Trails, the McElroy family continued a legacy of agriculture with a desire for people to understand the source of their food and fiber.

Earth Kids Summer Camp

EarthKids Summer Day Camp

Cincinnati Nature Center partners with social service organizations to reach underserved youth. The Boys & Girls Club of Clermont County helps us provide nature camp experiences to New Richmond, Amelia, and Goshen children. St. Joseph Orphanage brings children to Long Branch Farm and Rowe Woods. Agency staff help select children who will benefit most.

Jungle Jim's logo

Nature PlayScape Sponsor

Actions We’ve Taken

Employee Trainings and Internal Committees

  • Employees receive LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training from Lighthouse Youth & Family Services (since May 2019).
  • Employees received Empathy Training from the Department of Jobs and Family Services of Hamilton County (June 2019).
  • Employees and board attended the “Of/By/For All” keynote presented by Nina Simon at the 2019 Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA) Summit. Cincinnati Nature Center was the host site and conference programmer for this annual event (August 2019).
  • Employees and board members govern a OF/BY/FOR ALL Committee to intentionally mitigate and proactively plan for diversity in our audiences, board, staff, and people we serve (since December 2019).
  • School Programs employees receive ongoing training on teaching students with exceptionalities from various expert consultants and speakers.
Carl Krippendorf
Carl Krippendorf

The Krippendorf Legacy

Cincinnati Nature Center’s legacy began with Carl Krippendorf, born in Cincinnati in 1875 to German immigrants. His father was the founder and president of the Krippendorf-Dittman shoe company. When young Carl became ill with typhoid, his doctor counseled the Krippendorfs to send Carl away from the dirty air of the city. A country doctor living in Perintown agreed to house Carl for the summer. Thus began Carl’s love affair with nature.

In 1898, Carl Krippendorf purchased 97 acres of the land where he spent the summer recuperating in order to prevent it from becoming a tobacco field. In the heart of his beloved woods, He built a home for his new bride, Mary, where they lived for 64 years. Carl and Mary invited everyone they knew to experience the land they loved and affectionately called “Lob’s Wood.” It’s often been said that no one left the Krippendorf property empty handed. Carl was known to give daffodil, Lycoris and other bulbs to his visitors. Today, Krippendorf Lodge, thousands of daffodils, and the beautiful beech and maple woods continue to preserve the Krippendorf legacy at Rowe Woods in Milford

Winter Community Graphic

Incredible Community in Nature

Common values of love, respect, and hope for the land inspire today’s Cincinnati Nature Center community of volunteers, visitors, and generations of members who have developed spiritual, emotional, and/or intellectual connections to this land. Generosity, in both life and death, characterize the founders and supporters of the Nature Center. 

Children at the PlayScape

Nature PlayScape Initiative

Cincinnati Nature Center's Marge & Charles Schott Nature PlayScape is a model of the Nature PlayScape Initiative (NPI). Through this initiative, Cincinnati Nature Center and University of Cincinnati's Arlitt Child & Family Research & Education Center aim to create a regional model to demonstrate how to effectively use the outdoors for healthy child development. Research tells us that unstructured play in nature is critical to this development—physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. And because each generation spends less time in nature, it's never been more important to get kids connected to the earth. The collaborative is funded by a grant from the Harriette R. Williams Downey Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. 

NPI aims to educate adults about the importance of unstructured play in nature and increase the number of natural play environments to ensure children have access to our natural world. We must overcome the barriers that impede nature play, including; parental fear, preoccupation with electronic media, reduced access to green space and overemphasis on academic readiness and over-scheduling of children’s time. The Marge & Charles Schott Nature PlayScape serves as a demonstration site to educate local school, park, and early childhood administrators about how to incorporate unstructured nature play in their facilities and programs.

We provide information and resources to companies, organizations, and municipalities looking to enhance or build natural play areas. Talk to us about:

  • Speaking engagements
  • Consulting and information
  • Tours of the Marge & Charles Schott Nature PlayScape

For more information, contact natureplayscape@cincynature.org

Nature PlayScape Initiative brochure (PDF)

Green Umbrella

Non-profit alliance of individuals and over 200 organizations using the collective impact model to make the Cincinnati region more environmentally sustainable and bringing together the region’s best and brightest companies, non-profits, governments and individuals to create and implement plans to voluntarily improve our community. Its mission is to maximize the impact of individuals and organizations dedicated to environmental sustainability and therefore improve economic vitality and quality of life in the region around Cincinnati.

Green Umbrella partners with Agenda 360 and Vision 2015, the region’s major planning initiatives. The work is carried out in Action Teams, each focused on a sustainability area with a set a goal that, when reached, will tangibly improve life in our area. Cincinnati Nature Center is directly involved in two Action Teams: Meet Me Outdoors and Land Preservation.

Visit Green Umbrella. 

Cintas Logo

Hike for Your Health

Presenting Sponsor

Economic Initiatives

  • We provide “Nature for All” admission and membership discounts for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women Infants and Children) card holders.

Initiatives for Community Members of All Abilities

  • We provide volunteer opportunities for LADD and Stepping Stones clients.
  • Every day, our school programs host children with special needs or exceptionalities.
Dwight Eisenhower and Neil McElroy
Dwight Eisenhower and Neil McElroy

McElroy's Long Branch Farm

A strong belief in the importance of education characterized Neil McElroy’s life. The son of school teachers, he grew up in a Cincinnati suburb. After earning a degree in economics from Harvard in 1925, McElroy accepted a job in the Procter & Gamble mail room. In 1948, at the age of 48, he became the president of Procter & Gamble and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1959. McElroy served on the boards of numerous local and national organizations, many which promoted and supported education. In 1954, at the request of President Dwight Eisenhower, he chaired an 18-month White House Conference on Education. From 1957-59, McElroy served as Eisenhower’s Secretary of Defense.

After moving back to Cincinnati, the McElroy’s bought Long Branch Farm in Goshen Township, Clermont County. When they donated their farm to Cincinnati Nature Center in 1972, it was their wish that it be maintained as a working farm “in connection with educational activities” and be “kept intact in order to preserve wooded areas, flowers and its natural beauty.”

Audubon Society of Ohio

Bird watching group in the Tri-State. Each December, Annual Christmas Bird Count is held at the Nature Center. Results from the count are sent to the National Audubon Society where they are compiled for the entire nation.

Visit the Audubon Society of Ohio.

Opportunities to Serve Underserved Youth


We welcome your feedback!

How we can we do better? We are listening. Send us your thoughts to membership@cincynature.org.

Cincinnati Dry Dredgers

Association of amateur geologists and fossil collectors with the goal of stimulating interest in geology and prehistoric life. Volunteers visit the Nature Center once a month during the summer to teach visitors about geology and help them identify fossils in their own collections.

Visit Cincinnati Dry Dredgers.

The Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society

Organization committed to increasing an understanding of reptiles and amphibians. Cincinnati Nature Center's Rowe Visitor Center is the host site for GCHS’s monthly meetings. In exchange, members of GCHS offer their support during the Nature Center’s Reptile Round-Up summer camps.

Visit the Greater Cincinnati Herpetological Society.

Leave No Child Inside–Greater Cincinnati

Collaboration of individuals and organizations working  to connect Greater Cincinnati's children with nature for their physical, Intellectual and emotional health.

Visit Leave No Child Inside—Greater Cincinnati.

The Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association

Group established to organize and advance the re-development of a pawpaw industry in Ohio. Members have assisted Cincinnati Nature Center over the years, from offering pawpaw tastings and cooking classes, to helping the Nature Center establish a pawpaw grove at Long Branch Farm & Trails. The Nature Center's staff assists the OPGA by supporting pawpaw tastings and educational programs throughout Cincinnati, and occasionally provides venues for OPGA educational programs. 

Visit The Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association.


Nonprofit organization based in southwest Ohio dedicated to the preservation of birds of prey through rehabilitation, education and conservation.  RAPTOR staff showcases raptors and provides educational presentations at Cincinnati Nature Center throughout the year. 

Visit RAPTOR, Inc.

Stepping Stones Center

Non-profit agency that serves people with disabilities in Greater Cincinnati. The center’s mission is to increase independence, improve lives, and promote inclusion for children and adults with disabilities. One afternoon a month, adults from Stepping Stones Center volunteer at Cincinnati Nature Center to assist with monthly membership renewal mailings, improving their job skills and independence while providing a great service to the Nature Center and its members!

Visit Stepping Stones Center.