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Rizzo

Blandford Nature Center

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With all the urban discussion that goes on, I thought it would be nice to turn to a piece of backwoods. Of all the assets the GRPS has in its control, the one resource that blows my mind is the BNC. The center is some 140 acres on the fringe of the urban environment providing unique experiences ranging from beautiful wild animals to babbling brooks all under a mass of cool shade :shades:.

Do you think GRPS can capitalize much more on the BNC? How much of a role can the center play for Metro Grand Rapidians? Have you ever been?

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With all the urban discussion that goes on, I thought it would be nice to turn to a piece of backwoods. Of all the assets the GRPS has in its control, the one resource that blows my mind is the BNC. The center is some 140 acres on the fringe of the urban environment providing unique experiences ranging from beautiful wild animals to babbling brooks all under a mass of cool shade :shades:.

Do you think GRPS can capitalize much more on the BNC? How much of a role can the center play for Metro Grand Rapidians? Have you ever been?

Personally I'd like to see GRPS sell BNC, maybe to the Elks Lodge?. They could use the extra cash, and I'm sure a deal could be made where GRPS students would still use it in their current capacity.

Although I dont know just how much GRPS utilizes BNC.

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GRPS should offload the BNC to a private non-profit.

It's an awfully small nature center anyway.

Kalamazoo's nature center is nearly 8 times as large(!) at 1,100 acres, funds itself (through memberships) and allows all area schools to use it, and doesn't drain the budget from any of the myriad districts in the area. This despite Kalamazoo's drastically smaller population.

Dig it: http://www.naturecenter.org/

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I too am skeptical of GRPS's ownership of BNC. If the school system is currently having trouble maintaining itself, how can it maintain somthing like the nature center? I been to the nature center many times. Its a peaceful and quiet place and very handy to collect one's thoughts. But I'd feel more secure about its future if BNC was in the hands of owners that are more stable and thriving than GRPS as well as atuned to the needs of such a place.

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Maybe I can clear a few things up. Blandford Nature Center was owned and managed by the Van Andel Museum. In actuality, the museum had a line item in the City Budget to help subsidise it. Needless to say, several years ago this was cut from the budget. The City approached the board of the museum and helped negotiate moving the Nature Center to Grand Rapids Public Schools. You see, there is a nice endowment associated with the Nature Center to cover operations. Folks wanted to ensure that the Nature Center monies did not get mixed up with museum monies should the museum come on hard times economically. I guess we were pretty prohetic...

The School Board voted to have the endowment placed with the Student Advancement Foundation. The Grand Rapids SAF has four coure values which are:

* Literacy

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ahhh that does clear some things up. So its not really costing GRPS anything to run BNC?

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ahhh that does clear some things up. So its not really costing GRPS anything to run BNC?

Correct. In fact once we roll out the new environmental school we believe we will be able to pull students from other districts back to GRPS, which as we all know means $ for GRPS.

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Correct. In fact once we roll out the new environmental school we believe we will be able to pull students from other districts back to GRPS, which as we all know means $ for GRPS.

Is this going to be something similar to Goodwillie Environmental schools, that's a part of Forest Hills?

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Is this going to be something similar to Goodwillie Environmental schools, that's a part of Forest Hills?

Actually, Goodwillie was modeled after Blandford's program. Forest Hills staff were regular visitors at Blandford School and a former Blandford teacher was even offered a position when Goodwillie first opened.

Blandford Environmental School

I can't say enough good things about that school. Mr. G was the greatest teacher I ever had. :thumbsup:

- GRCentro, Blandford alumnus

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