What’s New at The Nature Center

New Exhibits and More to Come!

Beaver Lodge Completion

Last month, Ponds and Plants put the finishing touches on our new Beaver Lodge Exhibit. Located on the upper level, near the Live Aquatic Species Display and the Woodland Birds exhibit, the full-scale, life-like creation is large enough for children to crawl into and explore. Featuring a taxidermy beaver specimen, a touchable beaver pelt, and replicas of current day and extinct beaver skulls, the display includes reader rails with detailed interpretive information about the large, flat-tailed rodents, some of which now call Steele Creek Park home. The exhibit even includes a green snake whose cage is incorporated into the upper reaches of the lodge.

This exhibit was made possible by a generous donation from Debbie and Nelson Gwaltney, in addition to smaller donations from many of our members and other supporters.

New Beaver Lodge Exhibit

A New Resident in the Woodland Diorama

Many of you have already discovered the new addition to the Woodland Animals diorama – a beautiful deer lying at the far end of the display near the Kids’ Zone. The taxidermy specimen was generously donated by Dr. Jeff McMillin, to whom we are very grateful.

New Woodland Deer Donated by Dr. Jeff McMillin

New Exhibit Space on the Way

On Friday, May 31st we will be opening our new exhibit hall located on the upper floor of the original Nature Center building. That space has been completely renovated to create a gallery that will be used for seasonally changing exhibits. Appropriately enough, our first exhibit in the new gallery will feature photography by our own Sonie Schermer. Sonie has beautifully captured the diversity of nature found in Steele Creek Park. You won’t want to miss this inaugural show.

New Gallery Space to Open on May 31

At the same time that Sonie’s Park photography exhibit opens, we will feature an interpretive display of regional flowering plants as photographed by Marty Silver, Naturalist at Warriors’ Path State Park. Marty’s stunning photographs will be found on the back side of the Geology Wall Exhibit, near the elevator downstairs.

What’s Next?

Now that the Beaver Lodge is complete, we are moving forward with our next two planned exhibits: the Kids’ Zone Interactive Wetlands Room and a Native Plants and Pollinators Exhibit. Our current Kids’ Zone (the small room with hands-on children’s activities located just beyond the Woodland Animals diorama on the upper floor) will soon display a wetlands theme with interactive features designed to help children learn about wetland ecosystems and food chains. The room will continue to have plenty of other toys and interactive activities for kids to enjoy, but will be greatly enhanced by the new focus on wetlands. Our interpretive designer, Ed Hackley, is currently working on designs for the room which we hope to have completed this summer.

Meanwhile, we have begun our campaign to raise funds for the Native Plants and Pollinators Exhibit. This interpretive display is to be located on the upper level at the top of the stairway overlooking our existing wildflower garden (which will also be greatly expanded). We have collected input from many who attended the Tree Keepers program in March, and are incorporating those into the story we hope to tell with the display. We currently have funding to proceed with the design work. Once this is done, we will work to secure the additional funds needed to complete the exhibit, hopefully by wintertime. Finally, when you visit The Nature Center in the coming months, keep your eyes out for new wall graphics, both downstairs across from the Geology Wall, and in the bathrooms where your education can “naturally” continue.

If you’d like to contribute to help us with these and other additions to The Nature Center, go to our secure online donation page or contact us at mail@friendsofsteelecreek.org.


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