Land for the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center, now known as Stage Nature Center (SNC) was originally purchased by the City of Troy in the 1970’s and is located at 6685 Coolidge Highway in Troy, MI just south of South Blvd. At the time of acquisition there was an older home on the property that was 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. This center for learning contains classrooms, a public research library, an observation bee hive, a wildlife viewing area and a nature exhibition lobby. The headwaters of the Rouge River flow 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 stream side forest. Within the nature center boundaries are over 1.5 miles of trails, which pass through upland forest, meadows, stream side wetlands, and a cattail marsh.
In 2010, in response to the planned closure of the Lloyd A. Stage Nature Center by the City of Troy, a small, 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 to support operations. The society assumed operational management of the nature center on July 1, 2011 and began offering educational nature and science programs for children and adults.
This was a critical time during the transition of this valued community resource from City government to non-profit management and funding. The Troy Nature Society sought members, volunteers and financial supporters to ensure that the community may continue to enjoy the benefits of time spent in nature. In July 2011, the society hired Debra Williams as its Lead Naturalist to organize and conduct educational nature and science programs along with several program instructors who conducted nature programs as needed for on-site programs and school groups. During the first fiscal year of operations, TNS provided services for 8,253 visitors, students and program participants. In March 2012, a Volunteer Coordinator was contracted to help recruit, organize and schedule the many volunteers who support the various TNS activities through the year. In July 2012, Carla Reeb was hired as the Executive Director to oversee the administration of the organization.
Activities at the nature center include nature inspired public programs designed for families, children and senior adults. In addition, we conduct programming for school and community groups along with guided nature walks and targeted school outreach nature studies.
The nature preserve is a valuable community asset offering a quiet retreat to solitary observers, couples, Scout groups, families, and school children who come to enjoy the natural beauty of the preserve. Some people come to sit on a bench, some to count bluebirds – others test water quality, monitor pond life, or tap the sugar maples. Many take the opportunity to capture photos of the wildlife for their own use and to enhance the society’s marketing initiatives.