Nature Center, Environmental Education Center, and Biological Field Station
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is a nature center, environmental education center and biological field station located on 850 acres with almost ten miles of hiking trails. It is almost 10 miles south of Hastings, Michigan. The Institute’s mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of our environment. Visitors will experience the beauty of wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes, and prairies on the property. The hiking trails are open daily dawn to dusk with experiences such as the Storybook walk on the Black Walnut Trail, the Play Space for children, the Vistor Center features the Nature Nook, a special space for children and their families, as well as the terrace, which extends from the Visitor Center south side parking lot around the back of the building. There are many opportunities to relax, meet with family and friends, and enjoy the beauty of nature.
History of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
In 1988, Bill and Jessie Pierce formed The Willard G. Pierce and Jessie M. Pierce Foundation as a way to give back to the community that meant so much to them. The Pierces passed away in 1998, but prior to their deaths, the idea of building an environmental education center was conceived while visiting a friends' home and enjoying the natural beauty of Barry County. Read more about the Pierce legacy here.
In 2021, the Institute staff and Board members, with input from various groups and individuals, began a long-range planning process using a system called Outcome Mapping, created by the International Development Research Centre. Outcome Mapping is a three-stage process that focuses on outcomes or changed behaviors that support the mission, vision or goals of an organization. The Institute has adopted Outcome Mapping as a continuous process that includes the monitoring and evaluation of efforts and progress.
Our staff and Board members are proud of the work done, and the work that continues to plan and evaluate our efforts toward inspiring the appreciation and stewardship of our environment. As with any plan, there are areas that might be stretches and areas that we find more easily accomplished. There certainly will be adjustments to our plan as we evaluate progress, but having a plan, a roadmap, is a tool we are committed to.
If you’d like to read the complete Long-range Plan or an overview of the process we went through, click the links below and feel free to share your thoughts.
Geologically, the landscape at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute was fashioned by the melting of the Saginaw Lobe ice sheet. Parts of the property lie in a glacial tunnel valley, an area where large volumes of melt water flowed underneath the glacier. Cedar Creek, Brewster Lake, and the esker that runs north to south on the property all lie within the valley. Virtually the entire watershed of Brewster Lake, a pristine lake notable for its lack of non-native aquatic plants and fish species, lies within Pierce Cedar Creek Institute's property.
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Inspiring Appreciation and Stewardship of Our Environment
To be a leading force and vibrant center for environmental education and research, resulting in awareness, appreciation and preservation of the natural world.
To learn more about our Institute, we welcome you to download our past Newsletters (PDF). As of March 2023, we stop doing full newsletters. Currently we release a calendar of events and shorter department newsletters. Look for current newsletters under "Newsletter" on the home page.