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Sustainable Funding Campaign


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Apr 20, 2017
Get Connected Icon


Get Connected Icon
Apr 20, 2020
Get Connected Icon


Howard Christensen Nature Center is growing, and we need your help! You can donate online or become a member and get free admission and lots of discounts at hundreds of Nature Centers. Our membership package offers opportunities for free and discounted programs, a first look at everything we do and recognizes your part in our growth. Not interested in membership opportunities, donate online to our upcoming Sustainability Campaign and just take a look at what’s coming to HCNC.

HCNC is not a public entity and receives no funding from taxes. Our admission helps cover the more than $3500 monthly required to keep the doors and gates open. Trails, driveways, docks and boardwalks require maintenance, and one often overlooked expense is the insurance we must carry to even let the public on the property. Even for those who “only walk the trails” without funding closure of HCNC would also mean closure of the gates and property as a whole. The admission and introduction of these new projects help us ensure that NEVER happens.

Staggering Statistics

  • Did you know that if every “like” we currently have on facebook donated just $1.00, it would pay for half our winter heat bill?
  • Did you know that if every “like” we currently have on our page donated just $2.00 MONTHLY, it would pay ALL our bills each month?
  • Did you know that if every “like” we currently have on our page donated just $5.00 MONTHLY, it would eliminate the need for admission, pay the bills and cover the cost of over 80% of our events?
  • Did you know that if every “like” we currently have our page donated just $100.00, once a year, it would cover the entirety of our expenses with enough left over to bring nearly 75% of our field trips here for FREE?

When it is broken down like that, it doesn’t seem like a very difficult goal, does it? We need to keep our doors open, lights on and the property available to the public, but it does take everyone’s support. But looking at these Staggering Statistics, look how little it would take from each individual the more people we get involved! You can donate online at the bottom of our home page, and we ask humbly for your support to help keep HCNC going and ensure a 2017 for us!

Imagine what we could do with even more support!

Give online, in person, by mail or contact us to get a private tour with the Director and Board of Directors to see and experience the plans and impacts thereof! Remember, our board meetings are open to the public.

If you would like to receive our Campaign packet, please let us know.

Here are our goals and the cost for us to achieve them, we must meet each of these goals to ensure the Nature Center will be here tomorrow! How can you help, get involved or become the voice of HCNC?

    • New interpretive signage – $3,000.00
      Not only will this provide for new trail signs at every intersection and route, this will also include large informational signs at the dozens of points of interest on the property to help explain and teach all visitors. Example: a large sign at Chrishaven Lake to educate visitors on the type of lake, water conditions and history of the natural lake.
    • Interactive Children’s Activities – $4,750.00
      This will provide games and activities for children of all ages to take part in whether here on a field trip or visiting on their own. Learn about animals tracks, match sounds with the animal that makes them and play an interactive nature simulator where you can see the results of every action you make in the natural world.
    • Maintenance Equipment Upgrades – $12,500.00
      HCNC is in need of many pieces of equipment to maintain the property. Over the years some have broke down or can no longer keep up with the demands of your ever growing nature center. We would like to replace our small snowblower with a plow truck to reduce the time it takes to clear snow from driveways (currently takes 7 hours to do all three driveways). Our lawn mower recently broke down and the need to other trail maintenance supplies are growing.
    • Team Challenge Course – $15,000.00
      Team building is becoming an ever popular concept in the education world as well as corporate and family atmospheres. HCNC knows the importance of bringing back our multi station challenge course to promote team work, instill confidence and build relationships. Our current plan includes a low ropes style confidence course with 20 stations to accommodate multiple groups at one time.
    • HCNC Barnyard – FUNDED
      The need for a barnyard became prevalent when we came to the realization that our farm animals that came for a temporary stay will likely be more than temporary. Thus the need for stable permanent structures and enclosures became priority. Not only will this better house our animals, but will also create an education station where we can help students learn about animal care, uses and stewardship of the land we use.
    • Canoes for Water Programming – $2,200
      The Christensens and Dunstons before them utilized the great asset that is Chrishaven lake for water recreation by canoe. We still have the need and ability to teach water science, and enjoy water recreation. Life jackets have been committed for once we have canoes to provide yet another way to see parts of the property that are not accessible any other way.
    • Endowment Fund – $ONGOING
      HCNC has over $3,000 in monthly bills year round. Having a fund specifically designated to help pay the bills will allow us to attain the resources we need to become more sustainable, grow to better serve the community and be here tomorrow. Sadly, without the funding sustainability, HCNC will not be here if the lights can stay on and bills can’t be paid. This IS a very real challenge.
    • Arboretum Restoration – $22,000.00
      The arboretum is what remains of the nursery Carl Dunston planted in the 1940’s and the Christensen’s Maintained into the 1970’s. However, nearly 50 years without botanical or horticultural upkeep, we are in danger of losing the remaining unique plants and trees we wish to once again showcase. Our arboretum is home to over 100 species of plants not commonly found in the area, with some that are not found anywhere else in Michigan. This is not only a historic gem, but a crucial educational tool.
    • HCNC Trust – $1,000,000.00
      The idea of a trust for HCNC is not different than that of a private estate. This will provide the funding needed to secure the future. Through specific processes, this will be set up not to pay the bills today, but to ensure they can be paid well into the future. This will also ensure a fund for further improvements that may be required, if a furnace breaks down (one the size of ours runs around $25,000.00) or should the need arise to update a building for weather or to become more “green.”

Other options also exist to set up HCNC as a beneficiary to your estate, to allow for automatic deductions and regular contributions. Now is the time to support HCNC. Without support today, we cannot guarantee a tomorrow for our children, students, friends and critters that call home. Even for those who simply enjoy the trails, if HCNC was no longer here, this piece of private property would no longer be open or available to the public. Do your part today.

Click HERE to donate please!


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