Hartley Nature Center building expansion and park improvements
The city of Duluth and Hartley Nature Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the recent completion of the Hartley Nature Center building expansion and park improvements. This adds onto the centers already 660 acres of land. The city was granted $1.29-million from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission Legacy Grant Program to support the implementation of the Hartley Park Mini-Master Plan, including a building expansion, improved sidewalk connectivity, additional parking, and comprehensive signage and wayfinding. The improved facility will support the community’s increasing demands for environmental education, recreational programming and opportunities to connect with nature and with one another.
“Well you know, it really lays the foundation for a lifelong thing of appreciation of these natural spaces. In Duluth, we’re so blessed to have so many trails, so many parks, and so many green spaces. But it’s really important to have programs that help people connect to those places. And so not every family has this in their history, not every school. And so one of our goals is to get all kids from our community, all families outside, learning, playing, enjoying. And hopefully that translates into a lifelong love of recreation and the outdoors and the natural world,” says Tom O’Rourke, Executive Director of Hartley Nature Center.
Exploration through the eyes of education is also on the minds of those at Hartley. The new facilities will help house and offer summer camps, as well as a nature-based preschool, to hundreds of school programs and other special events. Getting kids of all ages out into nature to connect through hands on play is key.
“Well, it embodies one of the pillars of legacy, which is connecting people with the outdoors. So having a fabulous new facility like this to add on to the existing center is fabulous. But what it does is gets kids out into the outdoors. It gets them out in nature, learning about it, enjoying it, discovering it, and hopefully building a lifelong passion and a habit to being outdoors,” says Renee Mattson, Executive Director of Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails.
Currently now, the facilities have been slowly used. Come next week the facilities will begin to be in full operation mode. To find out more about the Hartley Nature Center and how you can get involved, check out their website here: https://hartleynature.org/