Howard Christensen Nature Center

Howard Christensen Nature Center

“The earth has music for those who listen.”

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Board of Directors

Howard Christensen Nature Center

Welcome to the Howard Christensen Nature Center!!  Located in Northern Kent County and nestled upon 135 acres of natural ecosystems, HCNC has become refuge to a multitude of plants and wildlife.  The property boasts plant species imported in the 1940’s found nowhere else in Michigan, a tannic kettle lake home to our resident Snapping Turtle Jaws and miles of swamp and ponds that were once part of a sophisticated manmade lagoon system.  Donated by Frank and Rita Christensen in memory of their late son Howard, HCNC was developed as an environmental education center for the students of the Kent Intermediate School district.  Through 3 changes of management, HCNCs core mission and vision are still deeply rooted in environmental education and field trips, now servicing schools from more than 6 intermediate school districts.

As a nonprofit we rely heavily on donations, programming and field trips to keep our doors open and lights on for the public!  HCNC is currently underway with the Summer 2015 Pledge Drive to help fund our low cost community events to remain accessible to all and continue reaching out! Call us, visit our website to donate online or visit our pledge page at to be part of the difference HCNC is making in your community!  Feel free to visit us ANYTIME!

Now operated by Lily’s Frog Pad, Inc., a 501(c)3 not for profit organization, HCNC has greatly increase its reach with the introduction of community events and classes weekly, rentals of our beautiful facilities for weddings, parties and corporate events and our trails are now open to the public from dawn til dusk 7 days a week.  We maintain regular office hours, with weekend hours as staffing and volunteerism permit.

By supporting HCNC, you are ensuring a future of environmental stewards as well as a place of solace and sanctity for plants and animals alike!

The HCNC Board Meeting is open to the public and takes place on the last Tuesday of every month from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at the Interpretive Center. Please Contact Us with any questions.

There is a $3.00 per person admission to the HCNC property for non members.  This can be paid at the self serve kiosk or the office during regular business hours.  All vehicles must contain a parking pass.  Please consider a membership.

Download our Trail Map

Trail Maps

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Our Hiking
Trail Map.

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Free admission to 100s
of Nature Centers, events,
and child-care.

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School Programs

School Programs

Learning comes natural
with a wide variety of
hands-on field trips.

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We have many
volunteer opportunities
from repairs to teaching.

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Donate Online

Your donations help us educate our community on the importance of ecology, stewardship, and nature.

Contact Us

If you have a question, please feel free to contact us!


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Business Hours

Contact us: (616) 675-3158
Hiking all days during daylight hours.
Interpretive Center Hours:

Winter Hours

  • Mon-Sun: 11:00am - 4:00pm