Enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset from one of the Institute's hiking trails. Over seven miles of trails are open dawn to dusk.
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Promoting Environmental Education, Research,
Preservation, and Appreciation
Set on 661 acres in rural Barry County in southwest Michigan, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, a mix between an environmental education center, nature center, and biological field station, provides visitors with an opportunity for outdoor education and exposure to a blend of diverse habitats including wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes, and prairies.
To fulfill our mission "to promote environmental education, research, preservation, and appreciation," the Institute offers environmental education and sustainable land management programs to the community, educating environmental stewards by communicating the core values of land conservancy, environmental responsibility, citizenship, inclusiveness, and the pursuit of knowledge; undergraduate research grants and research partnerships with a consortium of area colleges and universities; and seven miles of hiking trails open to the public free of charge from dawn to dusk year-round.
Closed for the Holiday
The Institute will be closed on Thursday,November 27 and Friday, November 28 for the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Have a safe and happy holiday!
History of the Landscape Hike
Saturday, December 6
10 am - 12:30 pm
An early winter hike around Institute
property is great for viewing the landscape and seeing how humans have influenced
the land. This 2.5 mile challenging hike
will explore the south and east portions
of the Institute, looking at how Native Americans, settlers, farmers, and the Institute have impacted the land.
Brunch seating at 11:30 am (1 pm is full)
Concert: 12:15 - 1 pm
Enjoy Christmas carols and other holiday favorites performed by Thornapple Brass. Band members include a circle of friends from Barry County: Bill Johnson and Mike McMinn on trumpet; Tracy Texter on French Horn; Mark Hurless on trombone; and Jake Blough on tuba. The group plays a variety of music, from baroque to jazz. Stop out for a little musical entertainment to get you in the holiday spirit!
Pre-registration and pre-payment are required for brunch. The Christmas concert is free and open to the public. You do not have to attend brunch to attend the concert. Brunch Menu
Member Adults $14; Children $7 l Non-Member Adults $16; Children $8
(Plus 6% sales tax. Children ages 4-10)
The Institute trails will be closed from Saturday, November 15 to Sunday, November 30 for Michigan's Firearm
Another ScienceStrong Day at the Institute
With the ScienceStrong initiative,more
children than ever before will have the opportunity to explore,experience,and engage with nature and science at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. But what do they actually do when they’re here?
What do they see?
What do they learn?
What do they take away with them?
Thanks to long-time Institute volunteer Barbara Van Dyken, we all will have the chance to find out. In this, the first installment of a series we are calling Another ScienceStrong Day at the Institute, Barbara offers a first-hand account of students from Plainwell Middle School during their field trip on October 2.
October yellows rim the Institute as sixth and seventh graders climb off yellow buses, talking and laughing. Despite their excitement, they listen well as they are divided into three groups:
Macroinvertebrates (water creatures) at the ponds; Water sampling study at Cedar Creek; Geologic-hydrology hike around Brewster Lake.
At the ponds, eager but sometimes timid kids line the edges. Aluminum collection pans are held in their hands. Water spiders are some of the first to be found. Excitement increases with each dip of the long-handled nets. Water beetles, frogs, tadpoles, dragonfly/damselfly nymphs, leeches, and much more are exclaimed over, studied, and recorded on data sheets.
"I'm a leech magnet!" one petite brunette cries out repeatedly, holding her pan withleeches and squirming as far away as possible.
Sierra, swathed in pink, loves the "wet fun."
Iris's face shows delighted concentration at all the different types of swimmers coming out of the water.
Meanwhile, at the new observation platform by the creek, thirty kids fill the seats and steps. The benefits of an outdoor classroom are about to be demonstrated. All attention focuses on Dr. Sara as she asks, "If you were a fish living in Cedar Creek, what would you see and feel?"
"I would know if there is enough oxygen in the water to breathe."
"Can I feel the water to guess its temperature? That would be the best way to feel like a fish?" Peter obviously wants to participate more actively.
"The acidity of the water is based on a pH scale of 0-14. Is it 5 that is too acidic?" Wow—most adults don't know that one.
“How do water plants breathe? Is it like the fish breathe?"
The questions keep coming and get better. When John returns from the hydrology hike, he responds as boys for ages have done:
"The best part was all the frogs."
But Lydia pipes in with: "No, the best part was the red poison plants!" Poison sumac was never so enthusiastically admired.
Kid humor ends the day perfectly:
Brendan exclaims, “This is some funky water!"
Interest in science is alive and flourishing at Plainwell Middle School. Pierce Cedar Creek Institute nurtures and expands that interest into fascination. Let us hope it continues into the future for all of us.