The Kansas mussels exhibit is one of the exhibits in the SE Kansas Nature Center in Galena.
Unique outdoor education facility to be operated by state agency
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will operate the Southeast Kansas Nature Center (SEKNC),
Galena, under a lease agreement with the city of . The center sits on a hilltop in picturesque Galena , overlooking Shoal Creek south of the city. Schermerhorn Park
The lease, finalized earlier this month, allows KDWPT to lease the center and 10.1 acres of
for $1.00 annually for a term of two years, with an option to renew for two additional years. KDWPT will manage the center, care for the exhibits, maintain the nature trails currently on the property and provide education programming. The city of Schermerhorn Park Galena will continue to own and manage the park (including and the park area along Shoal Creek) and maintain the center. KDWPT already owns property on both sides of Shoal Creek south and east of the park.
Several exhibits and some equipment at the SEKNC are on loan from other sources. Those items, including a working bee hive and a large insect collection, are excluded from the lease and will remain under private ownership.
“We are excited to take over the operation of the center so we can expand our educational presence to southeast
,” said Ross Robins, KDWPT Education Section Chief. “It is a valuable addition to our portfolio of education centers at Kansas Junction City, Great Bend, Wichita, Pratt and . We’re looking forward to fostering our partnerships with Olathe Pittsburg State, schools and local organizations and to offering great outdoor education experiences for visitors and communities in the area.” Galena
Jennifer Rader has been hired as center director. “I am thrilled to be a part of this new phase in the center’s life,” she said. “
has an incredible diversity of wildlife and habitat perfect for outdoor education. Schermerhorn Park residents are highly supportive of the nature center and what former director Linda Phipps has done for environmental education. I plan to build on her legacy and provide more center-based and outreach programs for area schools, organizations and the public. We also want to explore internship and volunteer opportunities for local colleges, service projects for interested groups and partnerships with other environmental education programs.”
Southeast Kansas Nature Center is located at 3511 South Main Street (K-26), . Phone 620-783-5207. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 pm. Galena