Howard Christensen Nature Center offers new events, activities

Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. staff and volunteers have been busy finding new ways for the community to connect with nature at the Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC), which is conveniently located between Cedar Springs and Kent City. Although the natural beauty of the nature center hasn’t changed, several new events and programs for individuals and families are available this fall. Lily’s Frog Pad Inc. manages HCNC and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, so fundraising is an ongoing endeavor. Proceeds from all fundraisers help keep the nature center buildings open and the trails maintained for school field trips, public workshops and snowshoe days during the winter.

On Sunday, Oct. 16, a Bird Seed Sale will be held at Cedar Springs Mill, 112 W. Beech St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to benefit your birds and HCNC.

Another new fundraiser is the first Red Pine 5K Walk, Run & Relay on Sunday, Oct. 23. “Outdoor lovers” of all ages and abilities are invited to enjoy running or walking the flat, scenic, double loop through the nature center on well-marked trails. The race begins at 2 p.m. with refreshments and an award presentation afterward. For participants 19 years old and older the registration fee is $25, and for participants 18 years and younger it is $20. Registration forms and details are available on the website at www.lilysfrogpad.com, and late registration is from noon to 1:30 p.m. on race day.

New, fun events for the family include a “one day only” Bike Cyclist Ride on Thursday, Oct. 19 when bikes will be allowed on specially marked trails from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The cost is $5 per adult, $4 per student or senior, or $12 per family. Registration is due by October 16.

To end the month and celebrate Halloween, a Night-Owl Walk is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 29 from 8 to 10 p.m. This is another one-day-only opportunity, since the trails regularly close at dusk. The trails will be lined with jack-o-lanterns for this spooky, family-friendly guided hike. Registration is requested, but not required. The cost is $5 per adult, $4 per student or senior, or $12 per family.

Other events scheduled for November and December include workshops about whitetail deer, winter survival and a full-moon hike, a special day for horseback riders on the trails, holiday crafts, snowshoe rental, and a quilt raffle. Directions and details about these events can be found at www.lilysfrogpad.com.

For visitors who are interested in the moon and stars, a small planetarium that seats 15 has been added to the natural science exhibits in the Red Pine Interpretive Center. Please contact Cindy with questions about the planetarium and other events or programs at (616) 675-3158, or e-mail to cperski@lilysfrogpad.com.

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