LANSING, Mich. — Fenner Conservancy cut the ribbon recently on the nature center’s new addition, the Susan and Jack Davis Nature Pavilion. Sponsors and partners on the project, including naming donor Susan Davis, Deputy Mayor Samantha Harkins from the City of Lansing, Cindy Hales from the Capital Region Community Foundation and Danielle Robinson from Jackson National Life joined Fenner Conservancy executive director Liz Roxberry and board president Jessica Fowler inside to ceremonially open the completed building.
“In 1959, what we now know as Fenner Nature Center opened to the public. We have come a long way over the last 60 years,” Fowler said. “We have fulfilled Carl Fenner’s goal of ‘creating greater interest in the field of nature. We have seen thousands upon thousands of people visit the property, and we have grown so much that we’ve found that we didn’t have enough space to meet the needs of our community any longer.
“Here today, we are opening another new chapter for Fenner with the Susan and Jack Davis Nature Pavilion, bringing tremendous potential to expand the opportunities Fenner has for fostering deeper connections with the community.”
During the ceremony, Hales said she is excited about the space and the opportunities it provides for expanded and enhanced programming.
“At the Community Foundation, we are passionate about creating vibrant, thriving communities in the capital region,” Hales said. “We accomplish that, in part, through a commitment to the remarkable nonprofits in the region who work tirelessly to address critical social needs, to serve the area’s most vulnerable, to provide opportunities for art and music, to educate and nurture our youth and to provide places where people can gather, learn about their natural surroundings and simply enjoy Michigan’s spectacular out-of-doors.”
Robinson, representing Jackson National Life but who also serves with the Community Foundation, congratulated Fenner and wished the organization continued success.
“I knew that with commitments from Jackson, the Community Foundation, the Davises and so many other great community supporters, we could make a lasting impact at Fenner, helping the organization to thrive for years to come,” Robinson said. “When great people work together, great things happen. And Lansing is the kind of community where great people work together.”
Naming donor Susan Davis said it is with great hope, high expectations and gratitude that they dedicate the Davis Nature Pavilion.
“The step we are taking today, in some very small way, is to counter this destruction of our natural world,” Davis said. “The nature pavilion will further the goals of the nature center: conservation, education and stewardship.”
Concluding the ceremony, partners and major donors joined the Davises up front as Susan Davis cut the ribbon. The Davis Nature Pavilion is hosting Fenner’s first ecological art exhibition, Sunrises & Smokestacks, through January 5 and will open for programming and rentals January 11.
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