Naturalists inspire people to connect with nature

A raccoon was one of the first “educational animals” at the original Seiberling Nature Center.

Over the nearly 60-year history of naturalists working for the park district, starting with our first naturalist Bert Szabo, we have deployed diverse tactics to help park users understand and appreciate the full value of their parks.

Interpretive Naturalist Mike Greene | circa 1990s

Nature Centers: From Ranch to Underground

I have had the privilege of seeing the transformation of the park district firsthand since I was a child. During the 1960s, I was a regular park visitor to the newly opened Seiberling Nature Center. It had been a small farm that included a recently built ranch-style home. That home was converted to become the park district’s first nature center, which was filled with exhibits handmade by the naturalists of that era. Today, we have three centers with core exhibits designed and fabricated by specialty exhibit firms, although some exhibits are still hand-crafted by our naturalists.

Interpretive Signs: From Gutenberg to Graphic Designers

Naturalist Don Prack worked on the early nature center exhibits by hand. | 1968 Now, interpretive naturalists work with outside experts to fabricate our exhibits.

Programs: From Art to Zoom

Naturalist Walter Starcher talks with young visitors about one of the nature center’s snakes. | 1983
It’s not surprising that after all these years, Mike’s favorite place in the park district remains F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm.

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Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks

Summit Metro Parks manages 15,000 acres, 16 parks, three nature centers and more than 150 miles of trails. Find more at www.summitmetroparks.org.