Since 1971, Tree Hill Nature Center has provided the best in hands-on environmental and science education to Jacksonville school groups and visitors. This 50-acre nature preserve in the heart of Arlington features trails, gardens, native and exhibit animals and a hands-on natural history museum. This wonderful Jacksonville resource is officially owned by the city but is funded privately through donations and admissions. It doesn’t cost the taxpayers of Jacksonville a dime to maintain staff and expand their mission to inform and engage the public to enhance awareness of the beauty of nature.
Tree Hill is the home of the annual Butterfly Festival brings thousands together every Spring to appreciate nature and celebrate the innocence and beauty of nature’s winged artworks.
Tree Hill’s latest addition is the boardwalk, a 500-feet-long, raised wooden trail, connecting the Nature Center campus to their amphitheatre facility and event site next door. The new trail provides guests access to riverine habitat that has, until now, been inaccessible.
The project took more than 8 years from the initial idea to the final funding and construction. The trail will be named in honor of Mr. Joseph A. Strasser, whose support of the trail was crucial to the project’s completion. “This park does a lot more than the obvious” says Strasser. “It instills a sense of stewardship and responsibility to our youth and greatly diminishes juvenile delinquency”
“Many years have been spent planning, funding and constructing this project,” said Mark Mummaw, executive director of Tree Hill. “For all of us here at the preserve, now that the project is complete, it feels like a dream come true.”