MooseWood Nature Center Timeline
January 14, 1996
A group of community members met at Corinne Rockow’s and Scot Stewart’s home to discuss the possibilities of a nature center.
Jan. – April 1996
Meetings were held about every two weeks during these months. The MooseWood Nature Center group name was chosen, the mission statement was written, summer camp and other activities planned, and the following officials were elected or appointed: President- Corrine Rockow; Vice-President- Scot Stewart; Treasurer- Cathy Sullivan-Seblonka; Secretary- Bob Kahl; Summer Day Camp- Kim Smith-Potts; Family Activities- Rebecca Cook; Newsletter Editor- Cathy Waller; Newsletter Assistant- Martha Bush.
April – May 1996
The 460-acre Marquette County Prison Honor Camp property at the end of Silver Creek Road was considered as a potential site for a nature center. Eventually the site was rejected for several reasons including a lack of habitat diversity and the County’s expectations about MooseWood building an expensive access road from County Road 553.
April 20, 1996
MooseWood made its first public appearance at the Kaleidoscope children’s event at the Superior Dome.
July 29-30, 1996
MooseWood’s very first summer day camp is held at Presque Isle Park.
Efforts underway to draft bylaws, seek non-profit status, and establish an official board of directors.
MooseWood and the Laughing Whitefish Audubon (LWAS) co-sponsor the first Children’s Christmas Bird Count in five Marquette area schools. First Holiday Potluck Party and Silent Auction held at First Methodist Church.
MooseWood continues offering public programs. Christmas Bird Count offered to six schools. A second summer day camp is offered. Additions to the Board of Directors included Gregg Baldwin- Vice Chair, Virginia Long, Peter Seblonka, and Steve Waller. Board met with Marquette city manager and Soil and Water Conservation District to explore ideas for working together towards an actual nature center building and full calendar of programs for the community and visitors. Another Holiday potluck and silent auction held.
Michigan non-profit status was granted and work continued toward Federal tax-exempt status.
Public programs continue to be offered including a third annual summer day camp and the Christmas Bird count at three schools. A large gift was received from Violet Johnson. MooseWood plans to use this money as seed money to work of securing additional grants and paying personnel. MooseWood also received Federal non-profit status. A State solicitation license was applied for. Board Secretary Bob Kahl resigned in October.
Annual meeting, potluck and silent auction held in January at the First United Methodist Church. Melinda Stamp and Cliff Zoller join board of directors and Gregg Baldwin and Peter Seblonka resign. Stamp becomes board Secretary in February and will take charge of memberships. Cathy Seblonka resigned in October. Carl Schell joins the board at Treasurer in November. Matthew Williams and Melissa Middleton join the board in December. Corinne Rockow resigned as chair in December to take the new Executive Director position and Steve Waller is elected chair and Melissa Middleton, vice-chair.
MooseWood continues site search for location of a nature center. Parkview school space was suggested in October and Virginia Long offers to pay rent for first year. In November pursues a lease with the Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS) for a room in the Parkview building and in December a group visits to choose a room.
In January, a six month lease is signed with MAPS for a room in the Parkview Building with $340/month rent paid by Virginia Long. Plans are discussed for a grand opening celebration in April. Greg Jacobs attends a board meeting as a guest. He offers to volunteer for us at Kaleidoscope and to create programs for MooseWood.
Membership rates were raised to $20 Family, $50 Contributing, and $100 Corporate. Hours were set for the nature center to be open to the public and volunteers were scheduled to fill those hours.
A grand opening and “NatureFest” was held April 8 to introduce the new MooseWood Nature Center to the community. New exhibits were created for the center. An assortment of events included: “Creatures of the Dark” loris and bat program, live herps, wildflowers and edible plants slide program, fantastic frogs program, activities and nature games, songs and stories, craft table. The event was supported by members and businesses in the community.
Greg Jacobs began acquiring native animals for educational display and they became a popular attraction. Neighbors in the Parkview building began requesting programs. Jacobs is hired as summer program coordinator.
Annual Meeting was held in June at the nature center. The lease at Parkview was renewed for one year.