FIRE logoFIRE: Rekindling Land and People

Exhibit Now Open in the KNC Exhibits Hall

Fire, central to human evolution and our relationship with the environment, is both an ancient force in our history and of pressing modern significance. By centering traditional indigenous fire knowledge and KNC’s participation in contemporary prescribed fire practices, this exhibit — offered in partnership with the Lake States Fire Science Consortium ( — will help visitors explore the role that fire disturbance plays in supporting healthy ecosystems and the relationship humans have had with fire over millennia. A key feature of the exhibit is artist Ethan Turpin’s immersive art installation, Walk Into Wildland Fire, placing the viewer at the heart of a wildland fire. Turpin’s installation is part of Burn Cycle Project.
Learn more at:, or on Instagram at @burncycleproject and @environmentmakers

FIRE: Rekindling Land and PeopleThe Kalamazoo Nature Center would like to thank the Terry Todd Family, the Tyler Little Family Foundation, and the Suzanne Upjohn DeLano Parish Foundations for the generous support. We would also like to thank Nora Duncan photography, Brent Harris, Damen Panek, and Mary Parr for their consultation and contributions.

Exhibit Design by Alyson Cameron Studio

Coming Up Next

Roots of Wisdom

Opens March 23, 2024 in KNC’s Exhibits Hall

Interactive exhibit

At the Roots of Wisdom, Story Area groups engage in story telling, either by listening to a traditional story around the cracking “fire pit” or sharing their own stories of ancestral/family traditions and places.

KNC is thrilled to host its first traveling exhibit, Roots of Wisdom: Native Knowledge, Shared Science. This interactive exhibition explores ecological challenges and the solutions that are informed by native knowledge, practices, and traditions. Real-life stories are presented through the voices of four indigenous communities. Visitors gain insight into how traditional knowledge and Western science can be unified to improve our relationship with the natural world. Messaging will center around engaging content that highlights the striking influences and impacts native communities have on the wider world.

The exhibition was developed by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society in Hawaii. It was made possible through funding from the National Science Foundation.

Gun Lake outside with canoe

Gun Lake Tribe’s Mnomen restoration team.

In addition, Kalamazoo Nature Center is collaborating with the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians, Gun Lake Tribe, to create a feature on Mnomen (wild rice).
This section of the exhibit will speak to the cultural significance of Mnomen, the harvesting process and the important role Mnomen plays in local ecosystems. We’ll get an in-depth look at tools that are part of the harvesting process as well as current restoration initiatives of Mnomen in local waterways.

Contact Justin Davies with questions or feedback around Roots of Wisdom at .

Collaboration with

Collaboration with

Gun Lake Tribe

Supported by

Artists in the Glen Vista Gallery

art show

Nature’s Way Preschool Art Show

through Sunday, January 7, 2024  

Inspired by prescribed fire and the plants and animals that rely on burns for healthy habitats, this exhibit will feature artwork by the little ones of KNC’s Nature’s Way Preschool.  Come experience the whimsy of children’s artwork through the month of December. 

looking through screenprint

Southwest Michigan Printmakers

Saturday, January 13 – Sunday, March 31, 2024

In collaboration with the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Southwest Michigan Printmakers has produced a themed portfolion including the works on 22 artists based on the theme of the Kalamazoo watershed. This exhibit will feature a unique artist perspective on the river while presenting a variety of printmaking processes.

Exhibits & Activities

From splashing in the stream at Nature’s Playground to exploring a variety of arts in the Visitor Center, there are year-round, ongoing exhibits and activities to enjoy at KNC.


Expedition Stations

Located in the Visitor Center, Expedition Stations offer exploration, fun, and wonder in the natural world!

  • Microcosmos  Explore samples of the natural world using a microscope.
  • Reading Corner  Curl up with a book and includes some of the most visually engaging and eye-opening  books on science and ecology available for children and adults. 
  • Arts & the Curious Cabinet  Designed to spark wonder, visitors can try out a variety of art materials and explore fascinating objects from the natural world as inspiration for their artmaking.
  • Inquiry Backpacks Provisioned with an essential set of tools for ecological inquiry, each backpack can be checked out from the Visitor Center’s Guest Services desk to extend visitors’ engagement with the natural world. 
Eastern Screech Owl at KNC

Animal Ambassadors

KNC’s Animal Ambassadors program serves as an important reminder of the impact we have on the natural world. Get involved by participating in an Animal Ambassadors program, visit the animals on exhibit at the Visitor Center, see the birds in their mews located in the Arboretum, or symbolically adopt an animal.

Heron Sculpture

Arts at KNC

Take in an exhibition in the Glen Vista Gallery, take part in a workshop, support local artists at the Buy Local Art & Gift Fair, or explore sculpture in the Arboretum – there’s always something amazing to see at KNC!  Read more >