We are an independent, charitable non-profit, governed by a volunteer board. Learn more about our board and staff members on those pages of our website.
Using 143 acres of land and wildlife as the backdrop, Blandford Nature Center provides education and community programs that:
- Educate our community to understand our environment, our heritage, and our connection to natural systems.
- Engage people to actively use natural spaces and become stewards of the natural world.
- Empower people to embrace nature, new perspectives, and sustainable practices.
Blandford Nature Center believes children and adults learn best through personal experience. Our job, and our passion, is to invite our community to get their hands dirty in nature – whether that be standing knee-high in water to learn about stream ecology or planting squash seeds to start a garden.
Learn more about the direction Blandford is taking by reading our Case Statement.
Blandford Nature Center began as Collins Woods, part of the Collins family farm. Later, Victor Blandford purchased the farm from the Collins family and sold it off as multiple lots.
In 1949, Mary Jane Dockeray began working for the Grand Rapids Public Museum as a nature lecturer. Over time, Mary Jane convinced the Blandfords to donate land to the museum for the development of a nature center, with herself as the curator. In the summer of 1965, the Museum Association agreed to help seek the funds necessary for building a nature center, which opened in 1968.
In 2003, budget cuts forced the Public Museum to transfer Blandford Nature Center to the Grand Rapids Public Schools. As the Public Schools also began to face budget cuts and the Nature Center was threatened with closure, Blandford merged in July 2007 with an organization called Mixed Greens, becoming one independent nonprofit. In 2008, Blandford Nature Center became the independent, charitable nonprofit organization.
Through educational programs, community events and 143 acres of nature, Blandford Nature Center hopes to further develop and strengthen innovative approaches to delivering outdoor educational programming in our distinct urban setting in Grand Rapids.
The mission of Blandford Nature Center is to educate, engage, and empower our community to become stewards of the natural world that sustains us.
VisionOur vision is to invigorate relationships with nature that lead individuals to transform their community and create a healthy, sustainable world.