Bridge in Hastings, MN, where the Carpenter Nature Center is expanding thanks to Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funding.

Minnesota nature center expanding across river with campus near Hudson

Carpenter Nature Center plans visitor center, trails, and more on 300 blufftop acres of upland forest and prairie.

A $3.5 million project to build a new nature center on protected land in western Wisconsin has entered its final stage, as reported by St. Croix 360.

Carpenter Nature Center (CNC) in Hastings, MN, along the St. Croix River, “annually hosts more than 20,000 visitors and provides school-age programs for nearly 10,000 children and a wide variety of adult programs.” CNC has another campus across the river in Hudson, WI, which currently only consists of land and some trails. This property will be the site of the new nature center, described as an “eco-friendly building [that] will include exhibits, classrooms, community meeting space, a reading nook, restrooms, and seating area with natural prairie and wildlife viewing opportunities.”

The power of partnerships is clear with this expansion. The campus where the nature center will be built began with a generous donation of forested land. When neighbors learned the adjacent property was going to be sold for development, they raised $1 million to purchase it, which included $200,000 from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

Now, the new nature center is expected to open in fall of 2021, inviting even more visitors to enjoy the beauty of the river and its landscapes.

Featured image by Michel Curi, 2017.

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