The Russell Miller “Wild 100” Nature Center
is one step closer to becoming a reality in Leslie. The story of the nature center began 50 years ago when 100 acres of untouched land was donated to the Leslie Public School District. The unique plot of land has provided all sorts of innovative learning opportunities for students, but without any facilities on site for water or restrooms, the visits have always been limited.
A $100,000 donation made a couple of years ago got the ball rolling on what is now a $783,000 project to include a nature center with an observation deck and learning facilities. The Leslie Educational Foundation is now celebrating a $10,000
grant from the Capital Region Community Foundation
, which will help fund the observation deck.
“This such a neat story,” says Hollie Ainbinder, a contractor with the Leslie Educational Foundation. “The land is so untouched, and there’s hardly anywhere else in Michigan that hasn’t been used agriculturally at all.”
That pristine status has not only attracted researchers from MSU who hope to work with the schools to study the land, but has also provided unique learning opportunities for the students of Leslie Schools and science and social studies.
The Leslie Educational Foundation has also received $400,000 from the Michigan DNRE for the project, and will utilize the project to join the Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support program. A total of $535,000 has been raised. The Leslie Educational Foundation hopes to begin work on the project within a year.
Source: Hollie Ainbinder, Leslie Educational Foundation
Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor