Fenner Conservancy awarded $75,000 Community Foundation Impact Grant

Posted at 2:55 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 14:55:08-04

Fenner Conservancy, the 501(c)3 that operates Fenner Nature Center in partnership with the City of Lansing, has been awarded $75,000 from the Community Foundation to support the construction of their new building announced July 27.

The 134-acre environmental education center has spent the last two years developing plans for the construction of additional space, which will allow it to accommodate a wider range of visitors, help with its community outreach and expand its programs.

“We are so excited to be able to offer our community more ways to grow in its understanding and enjoyment of the natural world,” said Liz Roxberry, executive director of Fenner Nature Center. “In the last decade, we have seen the community’s demand for programs of this type dramatically increase. This demand has outpaced the space that we can provide and this new community pavilion is the best solution to several challenges at once.

“In addition to adding additional education space, this building allows existing space in the visitor center to be repurposed for use as a Reggio Emilia Nature Based Preschool. Having the Community Foundation’s support has been critical to this project advancing and we are thrilled to have such a trusted partner as we take this large step forward.”

The anticipated cost for the construction of this building is $410,000, which is envisioned as a partially enclosed structure on the center’s grounds. It will supplement the current Visitor Center, dramatically increasing the nature center’s classroom capacity and event space, Roxberry said. Additionally, the new building will support the growing efforts to encourage the arts in the city. With more than 1025 square feet of exhibition space, Fenner Conservancy will be working with local artists and organizations to showcase art in a variety of mediums, with its first exhibition scheduled for Summer 2019.

“We are glad to support Fenner Conservancy on construction of its Community Education Pavilion with one of our 2018 Impact Grants. We’ve always believed that a vibrant community relies on the experience it gives just as much as its infrastructure, and this Pavilion will offer a unique space to educate, engage and transform residents and visitors of all ages,” said Pauline Pasch, Director of Programs at the Community Foundation.

About Fenner Nature Center

Fenner Nature Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that hosts more than 60,000 visitors annually. The grounds contain over four miles of trails for visitors to explore and view live native reptiles, amphibians, songbirds, deer and wild turkeys. Fenner’s signature event is the annual Apple Butter Festival, which draws thousands of visitors every fall.

Fenner Nature Center is located at 2020 E. Mount Hope Ave., Lansing. Visitor Center hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, please visit or call 517-483-4224.