Putting a Planned Gift to Good Use
This May will marks the nature center’s 51st anniversary. Prior to our opening in May of 1967, volunteers were busy constructing the nature center’s first education building. Rip Schemm and Don Naish designed the building and construction began in December of 1966. The building was enclosed, heated, and lighted by the time a three foot snowstorm hit in February of 1967. It was finished by volunteers coming in on skis, sleds, and snowshoes. This small 25 foot by 40 foot structure contained many of the elements of our current large building, but the classroom, library, gift shop, bird observation windows, and restrooms were all a miniature versions of those found in the wonderful facility we have today. This building was intended primarily for weekend use, but before it was finished it was evident that a full-fledged nature center building was needed.
In the early 1970’s, a capital campaign was conducted and a new, large education building was erected. At this point, the 1967 structure remained in place and attached to the new building, but it basically became an unheated back room which was used sparingly. As the nature center continued to grow, this back room went through a series of changes. One of the restrooms was given an outside entrance for use by visitors after hours. Interior walls were constructed to create a darkroom and offices. The remaining space was used when needed, and the need was growing. The area was utilized for Summer Field School classes, Heritage Harvest Days, and special events. It was also a convenient storeroom.
By the turn of the century, it was obvious that Seven Ponds had once more outgrown its facility. An ambitious capital campaign was conducted which resulted in the completion of our current building in the fall of 2009. While most of the project focused on a large building addition, some changes were made to the original 1967 structure. The original configuration of the room was restored by removing the interior walls and restoring the inside restroom entrance. New lighting and ceiling insulation were added. And, the back room got its heat back when it was connected to the geothermal heating and cooling system which now serves the entire large structure. The room became a combination classroom and collections storage area.
Have you included Seven Ponds in your will?
The Lapeer County Community Foundation manages 61 funds to provide grants for a wide range of charitable purposes. Since 1996, over $2.75 million has been given to enhance the quality of life in Lapeer County. This includes several generous grants to the nature center. The Foundation was instrumental in our recent Capital Campaign and has also provided funding for invasive plant control and other projects. We appreciate their continuing support.