Fenner Nature Center - Lansing, Michigan (page 2)


From the Friends of Fenner website, I will share some excerpts from the "History of Carl A. Fenner Nature Center, Lansing, Michigan.  Written by Ron Eggleston, President, Friends of Fenner Nature Center, 2005" 

"The Fenner property was once part of a 2100-acre farm that stretched from Forest Road to East Michigan Avenue. The farm, called Springdale, was first owned by one of Lansing’s founding fathers, James Turner . . . . By the mid 1900s, Springdale had shrunk to less than 150 acres and was no longer an active farm. Scott Turner, grandson of James, was the owner of the property.  Turner was, for the most part, an absentee owner . . . . In 1952, Scott Turner came to the City of Lansing with an offer.  He said that several housing developers had approached him with the intent of purchasing the 136 remaining acres of Springdale.  He had a different vision, wherein the land would 'remain in its somewhat primitive state' . . . . After the Turner property became a city possession, there was a long period of slow development during which the land was closed to the public.  The mid to late 1950s was a busy time for the Parks Department, leaving the Turner property development as a low priority . . . .  In July 1957, longtime Parks Department Superintendent H. Lee Bancroft announced his retirement.  His chosen successor was Carl G. Fenner, the longtime manager of the city’s Forestry Department . . . . In January 1958, Fenner stated he wanted to develop a park 'with the aim of creating greater interest in the field of nature' . . . .  He foresaw Arboretum Park as a place with picnic areas and nature trails 'with all types of trees, flowers and shrubs placed in beautiful landscaped settings.'  Fenner wanted to have the 'homes' of resident wildlife identified by markers, and labels on all the native Michigan plants and trees.  Moreover, there would be a $90,000 visitor center, which, according to the Lansing State Journal, he expected 'to become the center of attraction for Lansing community residents seeking information, instruction and general knowledge concerning landscaping, gardening, forestry, botany and related subjects.'  He wanted to develop the park in cooperation with the public schools, to give children educational opportunities 'to study nature first hand.' 

On August 1, 1959, Arboretum Park opened to the public . . . . In 1962, after 39 years of serving the City of Lansing, the last five as City Parks Director, Carl Fenner retired . . . .  At the time of his retirement, the Park contained four bison, 3 pronghorn antelopes, 25 prairie dogs, three white-tailed deer and a pair of Texas longhorn steers in a fenced-in 'prairie' area.  In separate cages along park trails, one could see 'Sam,' an injured bald eagle, a recent arrival (in January), four pairs of quail and two great horned owls.  In the woodland pond, there were several species of waterfowl . . . . The City of Lansing honored the retiree by renaming his favorite park as the Carl G. Fenner Arboretum." 

The four dots mean I have omitted some text in between.  Also, the article continues right up to the present.  If you are interested in reading more you can visit their website using the link on my Scrapbook Photos Links page.



On July 3rd, 2010 I decided to take as much of the day as I needed for a nice summer weather picture taking excursion to Fenner.  It was a Saturday, the Sabbath, so I asked God to help me keep it casual and enjoyable, and not so much like work.  I wanted it to be a time with Him doing something I love to do — taking pictures.  Part of the reason for sharing this, is the incredible day it turned out to be.  Even for someone like myself, who approaches life from a spiritual perspective, it was nothing short of miraculous, as if I were being personally guided through Eden. 

I will try to keep the images relatively sequential as my walk with God encounters an abundance of butterflies, deer on three separate occasions, turtles in the pond, and turkeys in the field.  The above photo is one I shot as soon as I entered Fenner.  I stopped the car to take the sign picture, and this little fellow came scurrying across an open picnic area.  In addition to the several shots of him, I decided to begin my photos with the beautiful green surrounding me. 













In the above history you read the mention of bison.  I remember visiting Fenner when my kids were little, to let them see the buffalo.  If I took any pictures at those times, they were lost in the divorce settlement (1986).  The pens which held the animals have stood empty for quite some time now.  The gate and shed door were open though, so I wandered in for a few shots and memories.  Those pictures will be followed by some back trails images, including one of a very large tree.  When we come around to the pond, I have my second encounter with deer.  I was on the observation deck, but it was partially shaded, and the shadows kept my presence from being detected.  I stayed for a while, not only taking pictures of the deer, but also of the many turtles actively swimming below me. 










You have the advantage of viewing a cropped photo (above image).  In its original size, it took me several seconds of looking at it to figure out why I had taken the picture.  Every so often I will see an opportunity to show how easily it is to overlook something which blends well into its environment, which was exactly the reason for taking this photo. 

After many pictures of the above turtles, I left the observation deck on the east side of the pond to circle around and reach the observation deck on the west side of the pond, where you will see I encountered a much different looking fellow (turtle) altogether.  First a few shots from on the way, and afterward, dragonflies who also visited me there. 





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