History of the Nature Center:
The Nature Center concept came into being in the year 2000 when a small group of people began a conversation in the Rogue Valley about nature education. This group saw a need for education about the many unique aspects of our region and also saw a great deal of latent potential for a successful Nature Center in the rapidly growing urban area in and around Medford.
This group formed a Board and Jefferson Nature Center (JNC) was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Since those early years JNC has made tremendous strides.
Since 2004 JNC has provided high quality nature and science inquiry programming for approximately 1,200 Title I students per year in the Medford and Phoenix/Talent School districts. These programs educate under-served youth about local natural history, expose them to science inquiry processes using our local riparian parks, and support teachers in their goals around science education.
JNC has also coordinated a series of unique arts and nature projects in the community for adults. JNC believes that the arts are often inspired by the natural world around us. Since 2004, JNC has provided over 20 venues for local artists and writers to share their work with the larger community.
At the same time that we have been working on our programming successes, JNC has been coordinating with the City of Medford. In October of 2005 we secured a 10 year lease on a building within the new US Cellular Sports and Community Park. Since signing the lease agreement, JNC has raised the funds for renovation of the farmhouse into offices for JNC and its partner groups. Renovation of the building is now complete (July 2008). The US Cellular Sports and Community Park location is ideal for the Nature Center. The farm house site has lovely old mature trees and is in the middle of the 70 acre riparian zone along Bear Creek in the park. The Bear Creek Greenway trail goes right by our yard. The park is between I-5 and HWY 99 and is accessible and visible from both roads.