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!

Roots of Wisdom

Now open 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 . For media inquiries, contact Lisa Panich at or 269-381-1574 ext. 38.

Collaboration with

Collaboration with

Gun Lake Tribe

Supported by

Sponsored by KNC’s Terry Todd International Speaker Series and

WK Kellogg Biological Staion
Audubon Society of Kalamazoo
Williams Family Foundation

More to Explore

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, the Expedition Station offers exploration, fun, and wonder in the natural world! This is where you’ll also find some of our amphibian and reptile Animal Ambassadors in their new enclosures.

  • 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 Services desk to extend visitors’ engagement with the natural world.