The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 8, 2013

Our View: Good news in future

— The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism got quite the deal when it approved taking over operations of the Southeast Kansas Nature Center at Schermerhorn Park in Galena.

 The center is a fascinating study of some of the best that the beautiful Ozarks nature has to offer.

 According to the center’s website, the historic Scout cabin in Schermerhorn Park has been transformed into a wonderful nature center. Animal and plant exhibits native to the area are displayed throughout the center. And they aren’t behind glass cases. No, there are exploration drawers filled with hands-on materials to give visitors — especially the young ones — an opportunity to learn about nature up close.

 The center offers education classes, and workshops are offered each month. And the park grounds, trails and creek make a perfect setting for science and nature studies.

 The park is owed by the city of Galena, but the center has been run largely by volunteers, donations and grants. That’s how the place has operated since 2004.

 We can’t say that the state will operate with the kind of love and enthusiasm that Linda Phipps, the center’s founder and her volunteers do. They have done a terrific job.

But it does mean that services at the center will continue long after some of the key local players are unable to climb the rock steps that lead to the nature center.

If you haven’t visited this top-notch park and nature center at Galena’s south city limits, then you are in for a treat.

A written agreement with the center’s board and approval by the Galena City Council is still needed, and a new director will be hired.

The center is well worth the state’s investment.