President Barack Obama and most of the nation’s governors have proclaimed June as Great Outdoors Month, a bipartisan celebration of America’s abundant and diverse outdoor recreation resources and the importance of conservation and volunteerism. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes joins hundreds of recreation, nature and outdoor organizations across the nation to reach over 150 million Americans to encourage them to get outdoors and have fun in nature.
The Nature Center offers trails on its 20-acre property that take visitors to distinct habitats including field, marsh, woodland, stream, lake and ravine. The trails afford guests views of and experiences with the diverse plants and wildlife that call the Nature Center home.
To enhance visitor experience to the Nature Center, children and families can participate in a scavenger hunt available at the Welcome Desk that prompts searches for different kinds of flowers, leaves, birds and rocks. The scavenger hunts encourage children to turn over rocks, peer inside trees and generally gain a hands-on experience in nature Binoculars are also available at the Welcome Desk, free with an identification card, to aid visitors in spotting birds and animals.
Recent research suggests that spending time outdoors has major physical and mental health benefits. The Nature Center offers many sitting and resting areas off the trails that provide places for quiet contemplation. Engraved in the wooden rails along the All People’s Trail boardwalk are inspiring quotes about life and nature from Rachel Carlson, an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book “Silent Spring” and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.
The Nature Center offers many programs and areas in which to volunteer. Stewardship Saturday is a program engaging volunteers in land management tasks in the 20-acre property including pulling invasive species, planting and trail maintenance.
The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is located at 2600 South Park Boulevard in Shaker Heights and is free and open to the public all year. Trails are open from dawn till dusk, and the building, with restrooms and the Duck Pond gift shop, is open from 10 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 pm on Sunday. For more information, visit www.shakerlakes.org or call (216) 321-5935.