About the Coyote Trails’ Nature Center
In October of 2011, after being vetted and approved by both Medford Parks and Recreation and the City of Medford through a unanimous City Council vote, the 7 acres with 1,500 feet of Bear Creek frontage in the heart of the US Cellular Community Park known as the Jefferson Nature Center became Coyote Trails’ Nature Center (CTNC)!
We are an independent Non-Profit (Coyote Trails School of Nature) that teaches traditional living skills. We offer 2-hour day classes just about every weekend from October through June which can be found in the Medford “Community Connections Guide” by Medford Parks & Recreation (MPR). We run a variety of summer day camps at CTNC in addition to week-long camps during the summer at The Coyote Trails Main Campus, located in Earth Teach Forest Park in Ashland. Locally, we work with schools throughout the Rogue River valley as well as ScienceWorks, North Mountain Park, other nature-based non-profits, and MPR to offer joint classes. Not only are we grateful to be hired to teach these same skills across the country, but in August of 2012, we led our first trip to South Africa where students learned the art and science of tracking animals.
Upon signing our long-term lease from the City, we immediately set to work on improving the land. We currently have 8 different volunteer groups working with us and this past summer we had a herd of 29 goats, through Hungry Goats for Hire, who did great work on the blackberry, hemlock, star thistle and general weed problem. We are currently working toward reintroducing the historic side channel to our portion of Bear Creek so that the salmon have hospitable spawning habitat. With the help of the Job Council we have opened up whole new areas and trails have been added. The Bee Tree Project of the Ford Family Foundation has added a beautiful pollinator garden. Lithia Boys School continually works to keep the weed population in check. A group from Rogue River High School has been coming once a week to help us. We have Eagle Scouts who have added permanent bike racks, installed bird and bat houses, and will be constructing new picnic benches. The West Family Foundation helped us put a new metal roof of the building (for use with a future rain catchment system). And the list goes on. It is worth noting that this is all done at no cost to the taxpayer, but through direct donation, grants and volunteers.
We are located in the heart of the US Cellular Community Park on Bear Creek at 2931 S. Pacific Hwy, Medford, OR 97501. For more information, you can call us at 541-772-1390 or click>click here for directions.
The urban areas of southern Oregon continue to develop rapidly. Much of our open space is unprotected. CTNC’s presence is an excellent opportunity to provide a place for access to a natural area within the urban environment. CTNC is a place for interpretation of not only natural history but also of surface water management and habitat restoration in a large riparian zone.
Because CTNC has fostered unique collaborations with partner groups, the site is well used for education and research opportunities, as well as service learning projects. We are adding to, and reinvigorating, a strong base of volunteers. We are centrally located between Medford and Phoenix and between I-5 and Hwy 99 and are accessible and visible from both roads. Our location is within reach of many of our schools, and students are able to get to our location on public transportation lines. We are also on the Bear Creek Greenway for biking, hiking, and other forms of human-powered transportation.
Please come and enjoy!
History of the Nature Center
The Nature Center concept came into being in the year 2000 when a small group of people began a conversation in the Rogue Valley about nature education. This group saw a need for education about the many unique aspects of our region and also saw a great deal of latent potential for a successful Nature Center in the rapidly growing urban area in and around Medford.
This group formed a Board and Jefferson Nature Center (JNC) was founded in 2003 as a 501(c)3 non-profit. Since those early years, JNC has made tremendous strides.
Since 2004 JNC has provided high-quality nature and science inquiry programming for approximately 1,200 Title I students per year in the Medford and Phoenix/Talent School districts. These programs educate under-served youth about local natural history, expose them to science inquiry processes using our local riparian parks, and support teachers in their goals around science education.
JNC has also coordinated a series of unique arts and nature projects in the community for adults. JNC believes that the arts are often inspired by the natural world around us. Since 2004, JNC has provided over 20 venues for local artists and writers to share their work with the larger community.
At the same time that we have been working on our programming successes, JNC has been coordinating with the City of Medford. In October of 2005, we secured a 10-year lease on a building within the new US Cellular Sports and Community Park. Since signing the lease agreement, JNC has raised the funds for a renovation of the farmhouse into offices for JNC and its partner groups. Renovation of the building is now complete (July 2008). The US Cellular Sports and Community Park location is ideal for the Nature Center. The farmhouse site has lovely old mature trees and is in the middle of the 70-acre riparian zone along Bear Creek in the park. The Bear Creek Greenway trail goes right by our yard. The park is between I-5 and HWY 99 and is accessible and visible from both roads.
Watch for updates as we take this wonderful venue into the years ahead!