Navigating Nature Centers in Oakland County

If you’d like to learn about the wilds surrounding your everyday life, you’ll love our map of nature centers in Oakland County. This interactive map, created by Oakland County’s award-winning GIS team, will lead you on a journey across the county, from center to center, helping you plan a trip to any one of these great locations to learn about the natural world. Sunshine or rain, summer or winter, these nature centers are there for you to help grow your pool of knowledge!

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Heritage Park in Farmington Hills. Photo credit: Jonathan Schechter

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Beavers, Muskrats, Lodges, Dams, Caches and Push-ups!

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

The shortest day of the year draws near. First ice is already forming in the shallows of marshes and wetlands. Those signals of nature’s way indicate that the clock of winter preparedness is rapidly ticking away for two semi-aquatic mammals that live in our midst, and are often confused: the beaver (Castor canadensis) and the muskrat (Ondatra zibenthicus). Both species are dependent on aquatic environments. Both species build lodges in the water. Both species can stay underwater for about fifteen minutes. Both have the ability to created dens in river banks and lakeshores by using the claws on their front paws. However, the muskrat loses out totally when it comes to felling trees. The beaver, and the beaver alone, is the master logger. Continue reading

RED OAKS NATURE CENTER: An Oasis of Green in Madison Heights

WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY

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The small waterfall outside the nature center entrance is a focal point of this oasis of green

There is a pleasing oasis of green hidden away in the bustling urban world of the City of Madison Heights; a city that does not usually come to mind when thinking about trails, nature recreation, outdoor education, wildlife habitat or bird migration. Oakland County Parks and Recreation states correctly, “Red Oaks Nature Center is where imagination, creativity and education meet to create a unique outdoor experience year round.” Some might also claim a visit to the 38 acres of the nature center is for the birds, and they are right about that too. Continue reading