Nifty at fifty

By Allan I. Ross
The Moon Cabin at Woldumar Nature Center. Courtesy photo.

Woldumar Nature Center's Saturday event celebrates half a century of outdoor education

Friday, May 10 — For 50 years, Lansing’s Woldumar Nature Center has provided an idyllic venue for helping mid-Michigan residents stay in touch with the outdoors. A daylong celebration on Saturday will commemorate the milestone.

Amiee Woodrow, one of the educators at Woldumar, said that there will be a variety of activities, ranging from a Geocache challenge (a scavenger hunt done with GPS devices) to boat tours of the Grand River. There will also be tours of the center’s Moon Cabin, wildflower hikes and live animal demonstrations.

“We’ve organized activities to appeal to nature lovers of all ages,” Woodrow said. “We expect about 200 people to show up, and we’re prepared for a full day of education and fun.”

There will also be representatives from the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum on hand, as the grounds were once a farm that belonged to the automotive pioneer’s daughter.

Woodrow said the name “Woldumar” is an amalgamation of the Old English words “wold” (meaning “woodland on high ground”) and “dumar” (“by the water”). It’s situated on 178 acres in southwest Lansing, and has over five miles of natural trails.

Woldumar provides year-round community and educational programs. The nonprofit center relies on grants and donations to operate, and also receives funds from the seasonal children’s camps and from community events held every third Saturday.

Saturday’s activities:
-11 a.m.: Wildlife biologist Chad Fedewa from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will talk about woodcocks, a bird species native to Michigan, and what locals folks can do to preserve their habitats.

-Noon: Holli Ward, of the Michigan Butterflies project, will discuss issues relating to the decline of the state Monarch butterfly population.

-1 p.m.: Woldumar’s executive director Lori McSweeny will give a commemorative speech. Some public officials (none confirmed) will be on hand, and cake and ice cream will be served.

-2 p.m. Sylvia Colles will lead a discussion on herb gardens.

-3 p.m. Local artist Inga Kyler will lead a wildflower sketching class.

Woldumar 50th Anniversary Celebration
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Woldumar Nature Center
5739 Old Lansing Road, Lansing
(517) 322-0030