The E. L. Johnson Nature Center is a beautifully natural, forty-acre site that offers visitors myriad visual pleasures and a plethora of learning opportunities. It features a scenic, four-acre, inland pond that is home to an assortment of fish; a large variety of trees including stands of pine, hardwoods, and a sugar bush; and many native plants and wildflowers that decorate the rolling terrain left by prehistoric melting glaciers. A tributary of the Rouge River flows through the park-like area.
The grounds are crisscrossed with more than two miles of pleasant, wood-chipped, walking trails, and foster a safe habitat for a host of wildlife. Red fox, coyote, deer, mink, as well as a multiplicity of birds, amphibians, and reptiles have been observed. There are also special wildlife pens that contain orphaned deer and injured hawks and owls that can be observed up close.
The Visitor Center and classrooms, erected in 2006 with the funding assistance of generous grants from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, feature interactive educational exhibits and seasonal displays that provide a wealth of information. The facility, parking lot, and pathways are barrier free. The Visitor Center, log cabins, and an outdoor amphitheater provide areas for meetings, classes, and programs.
Visiting the authentic 1800’s homestead is an interesting trip back in time, and a favorite for youngsters! Docks, boardwalks, bridges, trail signs, picnic tables, and benches enhance a visitor's experience. The Center provides a lovely setting for people of all ages and from many communities to observe wildlife, improve their physical fitness, learn, or simply enjoy the beautiful and peaceful surroundings.