History, Mission, and Values
Mission: Our Purpose
Values: What We Believe
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Principles: How We Behave
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.