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Major Accomplishments

You live in a wondrous natural resource area! Evansville is home to the largest urban hardwood forest preserve within a city of 100,000 or more in the entire county. It is designated an Indiana State Nature Preserve and Federal Natural Landmark Trust. Evansville’s Westside also houses the largest urban wetland in the state of Indiana. These protected green spaces provide habitat for our natural world and serve as outdoor learning laboratories. Through on-site environmental education programs, these two properties promote experiential lifelong learning, encourage critical thinking, provide sites for integrated research projects, preserve natural history, and foster a sense of wonder to those who visit. At WNS we are pleased to serve as a model for sustainable practices, promoting understanding of our impacts and dependency on natural systems, exploring solutions for our successful human integration into these systems, and serving as a resource to cultivate a sustainable region.

Our area has a bounty of rivers, streams and waterways on which you can experience a paddle through Evansville without ever touching asphalt. This alternate view of our city’s natural resources, and urban impact on the natural environment, connects with a growing “green” awareness in our community as well as the interest of many individuals, businesses, and industries that are willing to learn about sustainable practices. Additionally, our properties and staff provide the following community services:

Education Programs

  • Reached approximately 20,000 people through our environmental education programs and events.

  • Served as a proud education partner with EVSC to provide learning experiences for their students in our outdoor classrooms.

  • Continued curriculum enhancements to better meet Indiana Academic Standards in all programs.

  • Provided informative experiences to over 60,000 visitors who visited our trails, nature center, bird viewing room, and resident docent animals.

  • Launched new early childhood and seasonal family programs, including Trails & Tales, Reindeer Games, Butterfly Hikes, Wildflower Hikes, and many more.

  • Provided fun-filled summer days for 67 happy campers.

  • Expanded the number and type of docent animals in residence and renovated their captive habitats.

  • Launched the Raptor Ambassador Program and its Mouse Meal donation program.

  • Conducted bird banding programs for friends and members increasing awareness about the type of avian species in the area and the tracking patterns of the avian population.

  • Maximized the use of WNS facilities beyond the normal school day through facility rentals, organizational meetings, and after-school programs.

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