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Member Spotlight: Blandford Nature Center

From time to time we will feature spotlights on our inspiring member organizations. Read today's below!

Tucked away on the west side and accessed through an unassuming neighborhood, is one of the crown jewels of Grand Rapids’ local assets—the Blandford Nature Center, a 264-acre property dedicated to inviting “our community to enjoy, explore, and learn in nature.” With over 8 miles of trails maintained through all four seasons, a working farm, a historical village, an environmental school, community events, and a visitor center housing nearly 40 wildlife “species ambassadors,” there is something for everyone.

I met with Sidney Baxter, the Marketing and Communications Manager and Emilee Walsh, a Marketing and Outreach Intern. They took me on a brief tour and highlighted some of the lesser-known offerings at Blandford. We walked the trails, taking in the cool fall air, as I learned about the many volunteers that contribute to managing the space by pulling invasive species, trimming trees, planting native species, and performing prescribed burns to keep the land and its inhabitants healthy. At the farm, they shared about the agriculture program that grows hundreds of varieties of vegetables which it sells through both Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) as well as through retail markets including the Fulton Street Farmers Market and the Southeast Market (both of which are coalition member organizations).

In recent years, the Blandford team has worked to grow its community outreach programming. The Community Calendar is filled with interesting opportunities like Blacksmith 101, Stargazing with the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association, Photography, Mushroom Identification, Foraging, Snowshoeing/Skiing rental, as well as regular music, food, and art events.

Blandford Nature Center is accessible via the Rapid, bus route 7, which stops at the corner of Hillburn Ave NW and Leonard St NW, a half mile down the street from the Visitor Center.

To plan your visit, access the interactive, virtual map. It has photos and videos of some of the amazing spots to visit on the property.

-Jessica Riccardo, GR Climate Coalition Volunteer

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