The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes in Shaker Heights, Ohio, is a nonprofit founded in 1966 as the result of grassroots efforts to preserve the Shaker Parklands from becoming a freeway. Since then, the Nature Center’s mission is to educate the next generation by conserving green space that connects visitors with nature and inspires environmental stewardship. In addition to nature trails and preserved natural habitats, the Nature Center offers educational and innovative programs and opportunities for community involvement. As a part of its mission to educate, the Nature Center, in addition to other initiatives, has provided more than a decade of programming for schoolchildren with its Applied Science for Kids (ASK!) Program. Developed in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the program provides nature-based STEM experiences for preschool, kindergarten and first grade students and teachers with resources to engage students in hands-on science lessons.
The parkland where the Nature Center resides was originally designated in the 19th century as a green space, set aside by the city of Cleveland for its fast-growing population. Now, urban sprawl has resulted in widespread environmental degradation with the reduction of riparian areas, wetlands, farmland, wildlife and plant habitat, leading to rising greenhouse and heat island effects, flooding issues, soil contamination, and poor air and water quality. Despite these threats, supporters of the park – designated a National Environmental Landmark by the National Park Service – ensure that the space continues into the 21st century as an oasis for people, plants and animals. The park’s outdoor areas remained open during the pandemic. And recognizing that the monarch butterfly was recently named an endangered species due to climate change, the Nature Center works to create friendly pollinator habitats and educate the community on its role in ensuring healthy pollinator environments at home.
For more information:
Peter Bode, President/CEO
Drought, Erosion-Subsidence, Flooding, Water Contamination
Environmental Justice Concerns
Air Pollution, Environmental Health Equity, Fighting Development/Destruction of Wildlife/Extinction of Species, Groundwater Contamination, Sewage/Sewage Treatment
Art Activism, Community Land Trusts/Land Conservation, Community Organizing and Education, Green Infrastructure, Nature-Based Solutions, Risk mapping and/or monitoring e.g. flooding/contaminants etc
501c3 Tax Deductible