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Through the lens of environmental justice, the Grinnell Heritage Center provides outdoor experiential opportunities to develop ecological knowledge and lifelong skills such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, critical thinking, resiliency, inclusiveness, and social responsibility.


In addition, the Grinnell Heritage Center builds connections and community for all ages through volunteerism, the arts, and recreational events.

  • Environmental Education and Nature Exploration: Offer a diverse and inspiring curriculum to raise environmental awareness and provide the tools needed to create a regenerative future.

  • Foster Greater Resilience in Youth: Foster a sense of community through which youth are encouraged to explore and lead change through collaboration with peers and the greater community, building resilience through play.

  • Whole Person Health: Offer programming that supports a collaborative approach to environment, self, and community care.

  • Increase Community Access to Healthy Foods: Increase access to organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables with a mission-driven farm store, collaborative cooking classes, and local farm-focused community meals.

  • Cultivate Community Connections: Offer a variety of events and opportunities for inclusive community participation aimed at developing greater care for one another and the environment.

  • Replicate the Grinnell Heritage Center Accomplishments: Pioneering from the Midwest, the Center will partner with other rural communities aligned with our vision and assist in building on the opportunities we see in our landscape.

Educational Activities & Play Spaces
Rental Venue & Farm Store

The Grinnell Heritage Center will provide the greater community with nature and environment-based educational activities and play spaces, including…

  • After school care

  • Weekly summer camps

  • Destination camps

  • PreK-12 programming integration

  • Community cooking classes

  • A nature center

  • Natural playscape

  • Animal Exploratorium

  • Community gardens

  • At-risk youth programming

  • Community walking paths

The Center will serve as a rental venue to create a funding stream to subsidize low-income participants in the community, hosting…

  • Community events

  • Meals

  • Private gatherings


The Center will also address barriers to fresh food by having a small on-site local and organic foods store, featuring fresh and prepared foods.


This integrated systems approach addresses the issues of environmental sustainability and of mental and physical health from multiple angles in order to ensure the best possible outcome for the individual, community, and environment.


YOUTH PROGRAMMING: The building has 5 classrooms with the

capacity to host up to 90 students for nature-based afterschool

programs, educational events, and summer camps. Two of the

classrooms will contain spaces designed for children with autism.

These spaces will also be used to host K-12 classes during the

school day. To assist working-parent households, we will provide

childcare during early release days and school break periods.


mental health access challenges that parents face in our rural

location, the Center will have two dedicated office spaces for

visiting therapists and psychiatrists. Building mental health care

access into the child’s after school or summer schedule removes a

barrier to access for families who are struggling to keep up. Tutoring

and cross-generational mentorship through volunteerism and

community collaborations will provide opportunities for youth to

create positive relationships.

MUSIC LESSONS: Two dedicated music rooms for group and

individual lessons will effortlessly increase access to the arts

through after school and summer programming.

FARM STORE: The farm store will create an outlet for local organic

farmers to sell their products. It will be open to the public six days

a week, with the aim of giving community members access to fresh,

seasonal produce and meats.


adjacent to the farm store and engage visitors with seasonal nature

displays, activities, games, and artwork to provide information

about our environment and ecosystems, all with the aim to engage

the public and increase curiosity about the natural world.

COMMUNITY KITCHEN: The licensed kitchen will be used for

childcare snack and meal preparations, local foods community meal

prep, catering during event rentals, and fresh food cooking classes

for adults and children.

EVENT & COMMUNITY RENTAL SPACE: The building design will

provide a venue with a seating capacity of 300 for environmental

programs and events. It will also serve as a rental space for

community and private gatherings.

YOUTH EXPERIENTIAL TRIPS: The Center will facilitate and

assist local students grades 6-12 with access to regional and

global environmental learning camps and programs. This will allow

students of all socio-economic backgrounds the opportunity to

view the impact and importance of our interconnected ecosystems.

ADULT PROGRAMMING: Adults will be offering cooking classes,

youth mentorship and tutoring opportunities, gardening, nature led

walks, parent groups, naturalist focused bucket courses and more.


By reinvesting in the Midwest, we will not only see healthier rural communities, but a healthier state, region, nation, and with time, a broader global community.

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