Category Archives: SNC Journal

Stage Nature Center Enjoys Continued Success

The Troy Nature Society reports record attendance in 2017-18

The fiscal year ended June 30, 2018 and the Troy Nature Society in Troy, MI once again experienced record highs for program attendance and visitors who enjoyed leisure activities on the 100 acre preserve. During the first fiscal year in 2011-12 after the Troy Nature Society took over operations, the Stage Nature Center welcomed 8,253 visitors, students and program participants. During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the nature center welcomed over 28,700 individuals for both nature programs and leisure activities. Visitors come to the nature center to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, walking and yoga.  They also come for nature-inspired programs and social events throughout the year.

During the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Troy Nature Society accomplished the following:

  • 28,763 individuals participated in nature-related educational programs, seasonal events and outdoor activities.  An overall increase of nearly 25% from the previous year.
  • The Stage Nature Center hosted 105 school field trips along with 33 outreach field trips to area schools in both Oakland and Macomb Counties.  
  • Field trips and school outreach programs served a total of 7,331 Pre-K through grade 12 students who participated in hands-on nature education programs.  A 50% increase over the previous year (2016-17).
  • Our organization held 208 public programs at the nature center and at other venues. This was a 23% increase in programs offered and a 5% increase in individuals participating in public and group programming from the previous year (2016-17).
  • Nature programs held at the Stage Nature Center served 8,348 individuals (age 2 through senior adult) with age-appropriate programs designed to explore the natural world.
  • 225 individuals volunteered for 4,129 hours of service in support of TNS programs, events, activities and nature conservation initiatives.  
  • Volunteers make up 98% of our active “workforce”, these devoted volunteers donated time and effort to help with such activities as:  Nature education program assistance, trail maintenance, clean-up projects, Maple Syrup programs, community outreach, fundraising events, bluebird monitoring, front desk reception, special projects and administrative support.  We experienced a 34% increase in volunteer hours from the previous year (2016-17)
  • The Troy Nature Society recently adopted five rehabilitated owls from an organization that closed due to financial constraints.  This exciting addition to our nature center is providing new opportunities for live wildlife programming and will enhance the public’s experience when visiting the nature center grounds. This is a 100% increase in owls living at the nature center who are used for educational purposes.

The Stage Nature Center has experienced increases in all areas of participation and attendance, which is significant to the Troy Nature Society, which operates the Stage Nature Center through an agreement with the City of Troy. In seven short years, the society has brought the nature center from near closure to a thriving community destination for individuals and families alike.

Land for the Stage Nature Center (SNC) was originally purchased by the City of Troy in the 1970s. At the time of acquisition, there was an older home on the property that was initially used as the nature center building. In 2002, the old structure was demolished and the current 8,200 square foot interpretive nature center building was constructed using funds received from a government grant to the City of Troy.

In 2010, in response to the planned closure of the Stage Nature Center by the City of Troy, a small but devoted group of citizens came together to create the Troy Nature Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Board of Directors immediately began raising funds for operations. The society assumed operational management of the nature center on July 1, 2011 and began offering educational nature and science programs.

In July 2011, the Troy Nature Society employed Debra Williams to be its permanent Lead Naturalist to organize and conduct educational nature and science programs. Afterward, several program instructors were also hired to assist with scheduled programs and school groups as attendance rose. During the first fiscal year of operations, TNS  welcomed 8,253 visitors, students and program participants. Today, the nature center welcomes over 28,700 individuals for both programs and leisure activities.

The Troy Nature Society rebranded the Stage Nature Center in 2015 and worked diligently to increase online visibility using a variety of channels including social media platforms (FB, TW, INSTA), local media outlets, regional media coverage and a redesigned website that contains programs and events available at the Stage Nature Center.  The staff at the nature center along with the Education Committee follow popular trends when developing programs. The naturalists at the nature center work hard to make learning fun and hands-on to engage children and instill a love of nature at a young age.

The Stage Nature Center’s interpretive building serves as a center for learning and contains classrooms, a public research library, an observation bee hive, a wildlife viewing area and an exhibition lobby with a children's activity area, mastodon dig site, Michigan wildlife interpretive display and a live reptile and amphibian display.  During monarch migration season (late summer), visitors can observe a live display where caterpillars, chrysalis and monarch butterflies may be viewed.

The nature center grounds feature the headwaters of the Rouge River which flows through the 100-acre preserve. More than 145 plant and animal species can be viewed throughout the grounds. An outdoor natural play area features climbing boulders, and a paved path that provides wheelchair access to the streamside forest. Within the nature center boundaries are nearly 2 miles of hiking trails, which pass through upland forest, meadows, stream side wetlands, and a cattail marsh.

For more information about our nature center and how you can get involved with our organizaiton please visit: www.StageNatureCenter.org