The Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway was created by the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and Wildlife Unlimited of Allegan and Ottawa Counties, a local sportsman’s group that supported outdoor education and conservation projects. The Center’s purpose is to connect people with nature through outdoor education for the benefit of wildlife and the conservation of the natural world. Since 2000, the organization has served more than 300,000 children and adults in the West Michigan community through its programs. Thanks to the support by organizations like the Safari Club International, more than 75,000 people annually visit the ODCMG sites to walk trails, view wildlife and reconnect with the outdoors.
A highlight of organization is its 136 acre ODC Nature Preserve. This free public site is open dawn to dusk 365 days a year. It also offers many diverse programs that help foster the concepts of wildlife management, conservation, outdoor education and preservation. In addition to the Founders Hall visitor center, the site hosts hunters safety classes, archery, fishing, kayaking, conservation education and land management, Native American studies, wetland studies and remediation, and live birds of prey. The nature preserve is also home to a small rocky mountain elk herd that was made possible by a legacy gift from the Michigan Chapter of Safari Club International.
The large taxidermy collection of game fish, water and upland game birds, and mammals has been donated by many community members, including hunters, fishermen and educators. Plans are under way to design a world-class visitors’ center and exhibit building to house the extensive taxidermy collection for public-viewing opportunities.
For many in West Michigan, the Outdoor Discovery Center is a starting point in the discovery of what wild animals call our backyards, parks and natural areas “home.” Without this base knowledge, there will not be conservation-minded people to be advocates for wildlife in future generations. The ODCMG continues to support and promote conservation in the form of invasive species removal, habitat management and sportsman education programming. The Outdoor Discovery Center is very grateful for past SCI Michigan support and looks forward to working together for many years to come.
If you have further interest in the ODCMG, please visit our website: OutdoorDiscovery.org