Wild Bear Nature Center is the only all ages nonprofit nature center in Boulder County, open year round and almost every day.
Wild Bear was a key partner in the preservation of 260 acres of Mud Lake Open Space and removed over 30 tons of trash from the property making it one of the healthiest wetland habitats in Boulder County. Through donors, Wild Bear purchased 5 of the acres and in 1999 voters approved developing a nature center on the property.
Wild Bear Nature Center created conceptual designs for the nature center and in 2013 experienced mining subsidence on the property, opening up a 6 X 8 X 30 foot hole indicating the site was unbuildable.
Now, Wild Bear has swapped its 5 acres for a new site on the corner of CR128 and the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway. This is a perfect site for the permanent nature center, within the Town of Nederland and at the gateway of 3,200 acres of Mud Lake and Caribou Ranch Open Spaces.
Watch our 20 year story….
Since 1995, Wild Bear’s mission is to provide year round educational programs to people of all ages fostering a life-long appreciation of the environment and promoting an environmentally aware, responsible, and ecologically sound community. Wild Bear’s passionate roots in science education and the preservation of Colorado began as a small program serving 24 children in the summer of 1995, growing to serve over thousands of people of all ages every year. Wild Bear’s inspirational vision was founded on the belief that learning occurs every day, all day and throughout our lives.
The long-term vision from Wild Bear’s modest beginnings in 1995 was to create a nature center facility in the mountains near Nederland to provide the general public with opportunities to learn together about their own backyard. In 1999, Wild Bear collaborated with Boulder County Parks and Open Space and the Town of Nederland to preserve over 200 acres of land north of Nederland,
Colorado; voters approved this plan including the development of the Nature Center by Wild Bear. Over the next two years, Wild Bear successfully raised $100,000 through private donations, and now Wild Bear owns 5 acres amid the Mud Lake Open Space.
In July of 2000, Wild Bear organized 134 volunteers to remove over 30 tons of trash off of the Mud Lake property allowing it to regenerate to its natural state.
Between 2005-2007, through a Great Outdoors Lottery grant and individual donations Wild Bear has developed and received full approvals to create an off-grid nature center at Mud Lake that will serve locals and visitors alike for generations to come.
As another milestone toward the creation of the nature center at Mud Lake, Wild Bear Center -opened a small nature center in downtown Nederland in 2010, where visitors and locals alike can engage in workshops, enjoy exhibits highlighting the local and global environment, and contemplate our impact thereon. Through generous support from donors and volunteers, this 2200 sq. foot facility located in the downtown Shopping Center showcases an exhibit of Mud Lake, two workshop spaces, educational offices and educational materials storage, as well as space for a small eco-gift shop providing earned income revenue toward paying our rent! Visitors from all over the world now enjoy this new resource in Boulder County as another free educational opportunity provided by Wild Bear Center.
These goals were accomplished on a modest budget, without a continuous space in which to operate. Prior to opening the Center downtown in 2010, Wild Bear Center had moved 8 times over the previous 12 years and is thrilled to now be operating in a place of its own. Wild Bear was the proud recipient of El Pomar Foundation’s Award for Excellence in 2006. Now, Wild Bear offers not only award winning youth programs when school is not in session, but also offers workshops to adults and families, with 18 workshops offered this year to 893 people.
Since 1995, Wild Bear has been known for its high quality and creative workshops for children. With its rural location, 17 miles west of Boulder, Wild Bear provides a valuable service to families with limited activities for school age youth in their community. Wild Bear serves an important niche, providing the only year round program for school age children in the Nederland community available. Wild Bear has been committed to serving underserved populations by providing the only school age childcare in the Nederland community where 35% of participants receive scholarships to attend. All workshops are modestly priced or free and all programs are free to senior citizens.