Here We GROW!

For those nature enthusiasts who have been braving the elements this winter to come and visit our wildlife ambassadors, you may have noticed a series of new trails recently excavated into the rolling hills of our Wild Wonders Wildlife Park. The Nature Center has just embarked on a large construction project after receiving a $240,000 grant to transform our Park’s pathways into a universally accessible trail system.
It is our intent to develop the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park so that everyone in our community can connect with nature and learn about our amazing Michigan native wildlife. The grant will not only focus on improving accessibility throughout the Park, but also update signage and interpretive pods to accommodate and tailor to a broader range of abilities. Improvements are not just ambulatory-focused, but also geared toward cognitive, visual and hearing-impaired individuals, as well as those living with autism spectrum disorder.
The community backing for the Nature Center continues to give us the support and resources to make necessary improvements so that we can continue to grow and extend kindness and compassion for our wildlife and our community.
It’s an exciting time here at Howell Nature Center, due to the support and enthusiasm from the community. Let’s work together in making 2020 the best year ever!  

John “JC” Carlson
Chief Executive Officer
Howell Nature Center
News from the Wildlife Clinic
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic treated over 4,200 animals in 2019, and our goal is always to release animals back into the wild, whenever possible. In some cases, we find that animals are non-releasable because they do not have the ability to survive in the wild due to their permanent injury or condition, but they are able to lead quality, happy lives in captivity. In these situations, we look to other nature centers and zoos that are committed to animal welfare for placement.

A juvenile trumpeter swan was transferred to the Detroit Zoo earlier this year after it was determined that she could not fly and could not be released. She had severe angel wing in both wings, which can be caused by multiple factors including improper diet. Proper nutrition is incredibly important for all animals, and this is one of many reasons it is important not to feed waterfowl human foods like bread and crackers. She will be paired with a male trumpeter swan at the Detroit Zoo, and we are hopeful they will reproduce, and offspring will be released back into the wild to contribute to the conservation of this threatened species.

Additionally, a red fox was recently transferred from our Wildlife Clinic to the Cosley Zoo in Illinois. This fox, named MJ, was kept as a pet and neutered by his owner. Life in captivity, combined with permanently altering his hormones through neutering, altered his behavior and left him unable to survive in the wild, making him non-releasable. Wild animals should not be kept as pets; it is extremely difficult to meet the behavioral, medical and nutritional needs of wild animals and to ensure they have good welfare and, in many cases, it is illegal. We are grateful that his owner relinquished him to Howell Nature Center and that the Cosley Zoo will provide him with a wonderful, natural home in which he can be the wild animal that he is. He will undoubtedly serve an important role in educating zoo visitors about wildlife and conservation.
As always, thank you for supporting our efforts in helping wildlife!

Laura Butler
Director of Wildlife & Education
Howell Nature Center
Woody and Friends Need a New Habitat

It’s official! Woody the Woodchuck, Michigan’s official groundhog at the Howell Nature Center, has predicted an early spring. For the last 21 years, Woody has been asked to predict whether we will have an early spring or six more weeks of winter.

At this time, Woody and friends are in need of a new habitat in our Wild Wonders Park. Our goal is to be able to have a large viewing area with access for the public and the ability to have a natural burrow for over-wintering of the animals.

The upgraded enclosure will provide a larger and more natural habitat that will allow her to be the wild animal that she is, and will encourage natural behaviors for her and her woodchuck friends.

You can help Woody and friends by donating through our Facebook Page using the button below.

Thank you for supporting wildlife! 
Howell Nature Center Goes to London

This month, we are excited to send our program director and manager to the Camp America Fair in London, England, to recruit amazing staff for our overnight camps this summer!

Kids are still raving about our overnight camp counselors from last year. Camp America is a cultural exchange organization that sends young people from all over the world to work at camps in the U.S. Camp America counselors bring great energy, attitudes and perspectives from their home and give campers the experience of meeting people from somewhere different.

Counselors from both Camp America and here at home enjoyed the impact they made on campers’ lives. The camp experience went both ways, as counselors recounted life-changing and emotional stories about how the kids impacted their lives. So much so, that they want to return to their “second home” this summer. Campers will be excited to see a few familiar faces in 2020!

Our program director, manager and the whole camp leadership team are eager to share the wonderful summer camp program we have planned with your family. Check out our camp guide
to learn more.
for Best Pricing on Summer Camps

Day, Overnight and Excursion Camps For Kids
Entering Kindergarten – 12th Grade
Camp Wonder  offers unique Summer Day, Overnight and Excursion Camps designed intentionally to help children enjoy and connect with nature, while teaching many classic camp traditions, new skills and life lessons.

We offer three- and five-day  Classic Summer Day Camps , five-day  Specialty Day Camps , six-day  Spirit of Alexandria Overnight Camps  and six-day  HNC Teen Overnight and Excursion Camps.

Our intent is to provide your child(ren) with a fun, safe and enriching camp experience, while teaching them to be faithful caretakers of one another and the world around us.

Click below for more information and to register.
Owl Prowl (Formerly Owl Nights)

January and February mark the peak of great-horned and barred owl mating season when you can hear them “whooing” the most and defining their territory. Join Howell Nature Center naturalists as we meet ambassador owls up close and personal during a live wildlife presentation. Then we will head out to the woods to call to great-horned, barred and screech owls and see WHOOO calls back! The program finishes with hot chocolate and cookies for all participants.

Ages 5+. Children under 17 must be accompanied by a paid adult. March 7 is an ADULT ONLY evening. Pre-registration is required. Be aware that winter hiking may be in slippery/cold conditions.

Photography Workshop
with Steve Gettle:
Action Photography – Advance
Techniques for Nature Photographers

Bird photographing is a challenge and rewarding genre of photography. This talk will cover everything from creating a backyard photography station to travelling the world in pursuit of our avian subjects. With diverse subject matter from hummingbirds to raptor and waders bird, photography requires a diverse skill level. During this course Steve will share with you many tips, tricks and techniques he has learned from over 30 years of photographing birds around the world. This workshop includes a special presentation by Steve, lunch and over two hours of photographing time. $80 per photographer, plus $5 for optional pre-event Wild Wonders Wildlife Park tour. $25 for non-shooters. Pre-registration is required. This event will sell out.
Indoor Raptor Portrait
Photography Workshop

Howell Nature Center is offering a brand new type of photography workshop – Portraits of Raptors! You will take a variety of photos indoors from headshots to whole bird. We will have a total of six birds (owls and hawks). Each will be sitting on a perch in front of a solid black or white background. We will set up three raptors at a time. Photographers will take turns shooting. Next to each raptor will be a handler and a professional portrait photographer. The handler will let you know how close you can get to the bird and the expert photographers will give advice on camera settings to ensure that you get outstanding photographs that you would love to grace your walls. Our expert portrait photographers are Bob Ratcliff and Maurice Sander, who have won a variety of awards for their wonderful photographs. We will have a deluxe sandwich, cheese and fruit bar for your enjoyment. Please join us for the low price of  $80.00, which benefits both our Wild Wonders animals and the Wildlife Clinic. Last year, we helped over 4,000 injured and orphaned wild animals. Pre-registration is required.
Become a Member of the
Howell Nature Center Family!
Here at the Howell Nature Center (HNC), we are all one family! Our intent is to foster relationships and create sense of belonging. To be a part of something fun and amazing, and to partner with the community in helping families grow together and connect with nature. We strive to offer our community a unique setting where people, nature and wildlife flourish together in harmony. With 230 rich acres of rolling hills and trails, lush gardens and multiple high adventure courses all nestled alongside beautiful Pleasant Lake, HNC attracts nature and adventure lovers from far and wide.

As a nonprofit organization, we rely on community generosity to not only provide support for HNC as a whole, but to expand our education, wildlife and camp programs so that all children can experience the wonders of nature, and all wildlife that come to our doors have the best chance at being released back to the wild. We welcome you to become a member of the Howell Nature Center – a place to HEAL, GROW and BE WILD!
Membership Benefits
  • YEAR-ROUND ADMISSION to the Howell Nature Center’s Wild Wonder Wildlife Park, Alexandria’s Naturescape, the DTE Raptor Education Center and Nature Zone (NatureScape and Raptor Center are closed for the winter season).
  • ADVANCED REGISTRATION for all events and programs.
  • SPECIAL MEMBERSHIP EVENTS AND PRICING for community events and programs (I.e. ice skating, snowshoeing nature hikes, fishing days, kayaking, canoeing and cross-country skiing), as well as periodic complimentary events.
  • 10% DISCOUNT off all gift shop purchases, private events and facility rentals.
  • MONTHLY e-NEWSLETTER with all the up-to-date HNC information.
  • FREE ADMISSION and/or discounts at over 180 nature centers in the U.S. and Canada. See participating centers at
  • SATISFACTION of supporting a great cause!