At a time when the environmental movement was strong, Eric Blank, the Director of Community Services, pursued the vision of a nature center for Maplewood. Michael Lane Nature Center, as it was initially called, was given priority status by the Metropolitan Council for a Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) grant from the federal government. The LAWCON grant funded fencing, a boardwalk, the Visitor Center and parking lot. In 1977, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) provided funds to hire Naturalist-Director Megan Gange and a crew to clean debris from the marsh and develop hiking trails. Erosion was controlled, benches constructed and trees planted.
Programming for school groups began in
The initial development of Maplewood Nature Center was complete when the Visitor Center held its grand opening in May 1979.
Much has changed since the early years, but the trails of Maplewood Nature Center remain a place to see leaves change color in fall, to snowshoe on a bright winter day, to observe returning waterfowl in spring, and to enjoy an evening stroll in summer.
Maplewood’s Nature Center Mission: To enhance awareness and understanding of