FAQ's about the Park
1. What is The Children of Indiana Nature Park?
The Children of Indiana Nature Park is a park of about 30 acres that is being given to Hoosier children as a gift in honor of Indiana’s 200th
birthday. The Park will demonstrate the saying “When we take care of nature, nature takes care of us”. (See #10 below for information about who made this gift possible).
2. Where is The Children of Indiana Nature Park?
The Children of Indiana Nature Park is in Centerville, which is in the eastern part of the state in Wayne County. The Park is approximately 6 miles west of Richmond, and about 70 miles east of Indianapolis. Click here
for the address.
3. Why was The Children of Indiana Nature Park created?
In modern day Indiana, fewer people are growing up on farms or in rural areas. The electronic age keeps children indoors and viewing digital media. Parents have increased concerns about allowing children to play freely outside. Combined, these factors have caused us to become increasingly disconnected from nature and the wonders of the natural landscape of Indiana. The Children of Indiana Nature Park is a gift from the project partners that invites Hoosier youth to learn about nature and how to care for the land.
4. Why is being connected to nature so important?
Studies show that children need nature to be healthy. Kids who spend time outdoors are more physically fit, less stressed, better test takers, more confident, and more creative. The risk of nearsightedness is reduced for kids who play outdoors. Dirt has been shown to be beneficial for the health of our youth. The Children & Nature Network
maintains a robust library of the research showing the benefits of reconnecting kids and nature. We must learn to take care of nature so that nature can take care of us!
5. Who is The Children of Indiana Nature Park for?
The Children of Indiana Nature Park project is a gift to the children of Indiana in this generation and all future generations. In celebration of Indiana’s Bicentennial, the project invites all K-12 students in Indiana to reconnect to nature first by claiming their honorary deed to the park, then by getting involved with caring for nature. Parents, teachers, librarians, and youth-group leaders are invited and encouraged to provide the opportunity for all children that they work with to claim their deed and get involved, especially those under the age of 14 so that they are sharing their experiences with an adult they trust.
6. What can kids do at the Children of Indiana Nature Park?
At The Children of Indiana Nature Park, there are many opportunities to connect with nature! There are mowed trails which can be followed to see the park or to watch wildlife. Bring your deed, enter the coordinate in your phone mapping app, and then watch how close you get to your spot as you walk the trails. Visit the Cope Environmental Center
and speak with the naturalists there for more ideas on activities such as night hikes, maple syrup making, and camps and outdoor activities.
7. Will I be able to stand on "my land?"
Every Nature-IN Deed holder has claim to a spot in the Park. Due to terrain and conservation needs of the land, not everyone will be able to stand on their exact spot. Get as close as you can as you follow the trail and look around you! There is a lot to explore about the land and knowing you own a part of it makes the encounter that much more meaningful. Great photo opportunities are everywhere in nature. Post of photo of yourself next to the entrance sign or exploring nature near you!
8. What does it mean to receive an honorary (Nature IN-Deed) deed to a spot in the Park?
Through schools, libraries, youth-serving organizations, nature centers, and other community outlets, students will be able to obtain a deed with a unique coordinate in the park. This means that each student with a deed will have “claim” to a specific spot in the Park that can be visited in person or virtually on this website. Once you have the deed, it is yours to hold on to and pass it down to younger siblings or even future children so generations to come will continue to have this special connection with nature.
9. I am unable to visit the Park. How can I participate?
The Park’s website will have a digital map that will allow you to plug-in your unique coordinates from your deed and zoom in to virtually see where
your spot of land is in the Park. Visiting this website also allows you to keep up with what is happening at the Park such as what animals and plants have been spotted lately so you can stay informed even if you are unable to visit in person. Contests
will be announced on the website that are designed for all to participate regardless of where you live in Indiana.
10. Are there nature places near me that I can visit?
Yes – if you live in Indiana, there are nature centers near you! The Bicentennial Nature Center Network
was formed to ensure that Hoosier children who wish to experience nature and claim their deed will be no more than 60 miles from a nature center, no matter where they live in Indiana.
11. Who made The Children of Indiana Nature Park possible?
The Children of Indiana Nature Park Project is a Signature Project of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission. The Children of Indiana Nature Park project was formed by a group of partners who believe that re-establishing a connection to nature is vital to the health and well-being of children, their families, and their communities. The partners seek to inspire the next generation of conservation leaders who will protect our lands and water for people and nature. Led by The Nature Conservancy
, the core partners include The Cope Environmental Center
, The Indiana Department of Natural Resources
, and the Indiana Department of Education
12. Why should my child/student/I participate in The Children of Indiana Nature Park project?
Participating in The Children of Indiana Nature Park project means being a part of history, while learning to care for the land. This park was created for Indiana’s Bicentennial and to celebrate Hoosier children and nature. Each participant will have the opportunity to connect to nature in a personal way by receiving their deed, by visiting the Park in person or virtually, and by gaining more knowledge about our natural world. Helping young Hoosiers connect to nature will ensure that future generations understand the importance of nature to our health and well-being, and that we can be stewards of both healthy environments and healthy people through our care for the land.
13. How do I get to The Children of Indiana Nature Park?
The Park is located in the eastern part of the state near Centerville. Shoemaker Road borders the property to the north, and Airport Road borders to the east. From US 40, head south on Airport Road for approximately 1 mile, and the entrance to the new Cope Environmental Center will be on the right.
To go directly to The Children of Indiana Nature Park (instead of visiting the Cope Environmental Center Visitor and Education Center), continue south until Shoemaker Road, and turn right. The parking area for the Park is located on the north side (to the right) and has the following address:
4910 Shoemaker Road
Centerville, IN 47330
14.If I want to visit the Children of Indiana Nature Park and make a day of it, are there other nature attractions nearby?
Yes – a couple of close “nature” attractions include:
Cope Environmental Center
which is immediately north of the Park property. The Cope Environmental Center includes 102 acres of land with over three miles of hiking trails and a new Sustainable Living Education Center. Open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk.
4910 Shoemaker Rd
Centerville, IN 47330
The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary
located in Connersville, IN which about 30 minutes southwest of the Park. The Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary is also the headquarters for the Indiana Audubon Society. The Sanctuary is more than 700 acres and is open to everyone. Walk the trails, rent a building, and learn about what research is happening at the Sanctuary. Open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk.
3499 S Bird Sanctuary Rd
Connersville, IN 47331
Wildman Woods owned by Earlham College
located in Richmond, IN just a short drive from Earlham College and about 15 minutes from the Park. This area has beautiful hiking trails, but is managed and maintained by Earlham’s Biology department so special permission is required before visiting.