We are an independent, non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. We are dedicated to environmental education for all people, focusing on school-aged youth from the surrounding region. Hartley Nature Center resides in a beautiful 7500 square foot state of the art “Green” building on Woodland Avenue on the north side of Hartley Park.

In addition to providing bathrooms, shelter, and interesting exhibits for visitors, we also dispense general park information and offer programs for adults and families. Hartley Nature Center receives no government funding whatsoever; we rely on income from program fees, membership dues, grants and donor gifts to continue operating.

Hartley Nature Center is dedicated to inspiring life long connections to nature through education, play and exploration.

Education – We are all about education. Hartley serves more than 30,000 park visitors a year, including more than 10,000 school aged children through field trips, camps, preschool, special events and public programs. If people have a clearer picture of how nature functions, we believe they will enjoy it more and do all they can to protect it .

Play – From summer camps and our nature-based preschool, to the hundreds of school programs and other special events, we strive to get kids of all ages out into nature to connect through hands on play. Nature play comes in many forms- climbing on the old willow trees, building forts in the pine plantations, digging in the newly constructed nature playscape or skipping rocks across Hartley Pond.

Exploration – Hartley Park is 660 acres of widely varied recreational opportunities. Whether you enjoy cross country skiing, hiking, bird watching, fishing, snowshoeing or just laying on a warm rock on a sunny spring day, there is something for you here. We are committed to improving a visitor’s experience by providing programming, advice and information about this amazing park.

Our Green Building

All buildings have an impact on the environment. They consume natural resources when constructed. Pollution is generated when building materials are manufactured. The building’s energy use also causes environmental impacts. “Green building” means minimizing the environmental effects of building. Green building requires integrating environmental values into the decision making process during design and construction. Given our interest in environmental quality and education, our desire to make the new Hartley Nature Center facility a green building came naturally. However, in many instances, we learned that it is difficult to find and integrate environmentally sensitive options.

We were able to integrate a number of sustainable design features, including: renewable energy, energy conservation, use of recycled and non-toxic materials and construction using Forest Stewardship Council certified wood. Our building has 7500 square feet of space which includes four classrooms, an exhibit hall, an office area with library, mechanical areas, bathrooms and storage space. It has allowed us to expand our programming to accommodate more than 10,000 children a year regardless of the weather. It provides a convenient stop-over for the public when using the park, with bathrooms, maps and information, interesting displays and staff on site to help with any questions. If you have questions or would like a short tour of the building, call 218-724-6735.