It's fitting that on a lovely Tuesday afternoon in spring, the city of Lansing held a groundbreaking ceremony on a new pavilion at the Fenner Nature Center.
As a new site for hosting programs and events, the new pavilion seeks to expand the capacity of the nature center, which resides on Lansing’s south side. It will encompass 1,600 square feet and is usable through all four seasons.
Fenner Nature Center has held more than 300 programs which have brought more than 18,000 visitors to the center, according to Fenner Conservancy executive director Liz Roxberry.
A total of 60,000 people visit the park annually. With the new pavilion, those numbers could be increased, as the new pavilion will help the nature center become a better community resource, Mayor Andy Schor said in a speech at the ceremony.
“We’ve got more access and more availability for those who want to come and check out this incredible nature area,” Schor said.
The new pavilion was another example of how the city is looking to expand and provide services for its residents, Schor said.
“We’re announcing this now, we’re breaking ground now, we’re going to be building this and getting this in place as soon as possible,” Schor said. “This is one more resource and part of the city's plan to have amenities and to grow."
One of the goals for the center as a result of the pavilion's opening is to open a Lansing nature preschool. Namesake donor Susan Davis spoke at the ceremony and explained the importance of such a resource.
“We have high hopes for ... introducing the natural world and conservation to very young children,” Davis said.
Davis said she believes parks like the Fenner Nature Center are a great way for families to connect with the environment. She thinks the outdoors are an important part of where we live and that it’s important to help conserve these areas.
“This is a great place for families to connect with the environment and learn about it, and hopefully help save everything that we possibly can save,” Davis said. “I think it helps us reconnect with the natural world and how precious it is. It’s finite; we have to take good care of it."
There is no current timeline for when the pavilion will be finished.