Open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset, the Auburn University Kreher Preserve and Nature Center offers the community a number of health benefits and educational opportunities.
“Studies continue to show that being in nature benefits a person in almost every aspect of their life,” said Sarah Crim, education director at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center.
The preserve provides programs, natural habitats like the Butterfly and Vegetable Garden and nature trails, which can be used for education, relaxation or both for students and citizens of all ages.
The preserve features the Frank Allan Turner Amphitheater, which is a wheelchair-accessible 150-seat multi-level meeting area used for educational programs and other activities.
“The mission of the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center is to instill a sense of stewardship toward nature
by providing environmental education, recreation and wellness benefits,” Crim said. “Our vision is to promote an appreciation of nature through environmental education and outreach with Auburn University and our community partners.”
With over 3,000 students ranging from preschool through grade school visiting the preserve every year, the center offers day camps and specialized education programs for Auburn’s youth.
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“This is a place where exploration and wonder flourish,” Crim said.
School programs include Nature Explorers, which is a program for home-schooled students and their parents, Mobile Critter Caravan, a teacher and naturalist-led mobile program where students can experience live animals in their classrooms and field trips.
Interactive youth opportunities include a spring break and summer ecology camp for students in grade school, and the Forest friends” program, which is held every spring and fall.
Located between Auburn and Opelika, students attending Auburn University have the option to visit the preserve through the Tiger Transit.
Crim encouraged the community to explore the multitude of opportunities that the preserve provides.
“We offer a host of community programs,” Crim said. “Including guided hikes twice a month, Science on Saturday programs and other special events including S’more Fun with Mom, AUsome Amphibians and Reptiles, Family Fun Day and the Halloween Enchanted Forest.”
Donated to Auburn University by Louise Kreher Turner and her husband Frank Allan Turner in 1993, the preserve’s 120 acres of land serve as an educational link to the natural world.
“The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center was set apart by Louise Kreher Turner because she and her husband recognized that there were some places that needed to be preserved,” Crim said.
Crim said the Turners had the foresight to understand the potential growth of the town, knowing that the community would need places to connect with nature.
“I hope that each person who comes to the preserve leaves with a deeper sense of peace and connection to the world around them,” Crim said. “Every step into nature presents a learning opportunity as the forest is always changing. I hope that people will treasure the knowledge that they learn in this place and that it becomes a part of who they are as a person.”
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