Spirit of Alexandria Foundation

Helping Children “Unplug” to Connect with Nature

There are many limiting factors to declining outdoor play such as the lack of green space, stranger danger, an excessive use of electronics, structured after-school activities, etc. The Spirit of Alexandria Foundation and the Howell Nature Center have partnered to address the excessive proliferation of electronic communications in today’s society. Author Richard Louv introduced the term “Nature-Deficit Disorder” with the publication of his best-selling book, “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.” He coined the phrase to serve as a description of the human costs of alienation from nature.

Through our partnership with the Spirit of Alexandria Foundation, specialized nature programs have been developed to address Nature Deficit Disorder head on!  Each program was intentionally designed to carry on the legacy of Alexandria Bennett, a little girl whose passion for nature and sharing all its beauty was inspirational to everyone around her.

It is through the inquisitive way Alexandria lived her young life, so full of curiosity, compassion and love for nature’s wonderment, that the SOA Foundation developed a lasting partnership with the Howell Nature Center (HNC). Our quest together is to help children build a deep connection to nature. Since 2006, over 240,000 children have experienced a direct connection to nature through this amazing collaboration. This includes Alexandria’s NatureScape, Alexandria’s Nature Bus, Alexandria’s Nature Camps and the tranquil Memorial Butterfly Garden that thousands of children and families enjoy each year. To learn more about Alexandria’s Nature Camps click here!

TreeTops Village

It is our plan to lead a youth movement of appreciation and conservation of nature. Our quest is to transition from a regional center to building a destination program with global impact. To do this, we are asking for your support to help us build a Treetops Village at the Howell Nature Center. This will be a dedicated nature camp. Whimsically positioned within the forest canopy and rolling hills of the Howell Nature Center, it will include the following:

  • Six ADA accessible, themed treetops cabins
  • Bathhouse and multi-purpose pavilion with kitchen and indoor recreation center
  • Eagles nest community deck connected by rope bridges/ADA accessible decking
  • Integrated activity centers and social gathering areas (Gaga Pit, Dinosaur Bone Dig, Hammockville, etc.)
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Spirit of Alexandria

Nature Bus

With our one-of-a-kind mobile interpretive classroom and accompanying live wildlife program, the Spirit of Alexandria Nature Bus can come to you at no cost through grants provided by the Spirit of Alexandria Foundation scholarship, based on availability. Birds of Prey available now, Creatures of the Night and Michigan Mammals arriving soon.