On Saturday (May 7), the Lawrence Nature Center at Drexel Woods held an event that celebrated both Earth Day and Mother’s Day. Since 2004, the nature center has held a spring event, normally around Earth Day which is recognized each year on April 22. As that tends to be a busy weekend, the Friends of the Lawrence Nature Center this year decided to celebrate Mother Nature Day on Mother’s Day weekend.
More than 15 environmental groups and other organizations were on hand Saturday to pass out literature, conduct interactive animal shows and other activities for children, and offer crafts, music and food. Guided hikes through the Drexel Woods property were also offered throughout the afternoon by nature center volunteers.
Musical groups Off the Record and the Mountain View Bluegrass Band volunteered their talents to entertain the 300 or so people who attended the event.
Linda Townsend, treasurer of the Friends of the Lawrence Nature center, was very pleased with the overall day. She said “it is great because there are people here today who have never been here. Part of today’s goal is awareness.”
The day’s events were highlighted by dedications honoring the memory of two special men who were very active with nature center - Larry Beaber and Ralph Copleman, both of whom passed away this year.
At 1:30 p.m. a bridge along Drexel Woods’ blue trail was dedicated in memory of Beaber. About 40 people hiked a quarter-of-a-mile into the woods for the dedication. Naturalist Rick Dutko described Beaber as “a quiet person.” He said the bridge is in a good birding spot - “a subtle memorial, but that’s how Larry was.” It’s easy to picture Beaber standing on that bridge enjoying nature, his friends said.
Later in the afternoon a bench was dedicated in memory of Copleman.
Copleman, best known for his work with Sustainable Lawrence, “had a vision and wanted to get the community to work together,” said Carol Nicholas. At the dedication, Tahirih Smith, director of Sustainable Lawrence, said, “Six years ago Ralph had a vision of this town as a community. We could work together to a better sustainable living. We met one very snowy winter night and decided this was a town worth saving.” His work was to “cooperate with different organizations to cooperate and improve Lawrence Township and Mercer County.”
Also on hand was Lyle “The Solarman” Rawlings. Rawlings showed children photos of his home, which is designed to run on only 60 watts of energy each day – about the amount of an ordinary lightbulb or 60 iPods.
Lawrence Nature Center can be found at 481 Drexel Ave. The walking trails through the adjacent Drexel Woods are open year-round. The center holds a number of events each year, including Summer Family Nights, Nature Walks, and month programs, such as the Warbling Wonders bird watching program next Sunday, May 15, at 9 a.m.