GAMBIER — The Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College is marking its 20th year of welcoming school children to try to catch frogs and visitors to enjoy trails that pass forests, a prairie and the Kokosing River.
The nature preserve will hold an anniversary celebration on Saturday, Sept. 5, that is free and open to the public. Visit the property at 9781 Laymon Road in Gambier from 6 to 9 p.m. for live music, free Whit’s Frozen Custard until supplies run out and a chance to see animals from a wildlife rehabilitation group. At dusk, stroll candlelit paths in the gardens. Kenyon students will perform dances at 7 p.m. in the gardens and prairie.
Earlier in the day from 1 to 4 p.m., visitors are invited to hike a trail along the Kokosing River with stops to make nature art, to use nets to skim for aquatic creatures and to learn about trees along the waterway.
The center has restored 58 acres of wetland and prairie over the years, and 10,000 trees have been planted. More than 16,000 children have visited for school field trips.
Director of Programming Heather Doherty said support from the community drives the environmental center’s work and she is thrilled by the strong attendance at events, such as 100 people who visited recently to hear about bald eagles and see a nearby nest.
“Our visitors are people who care about their natural world, and we exist to make that connection,” she said. “This is an exceptional place, and we’re so pleased that the community shares pride in it.”
For more information or to learn about the center’s regular hikes, trail races, summer camps and nature talks, visit www.bfec.kenyon.edu or call 740-427-5050.