Bunker Interpretive Center & Nature Preserve undergoing major upgrades


Mimi Mutesa

Though the Bunker Interpretive Center is not yet reopened to the public, the Nature Preserve can still be accessed.

The Bunker Interpretive Center (BIC) and the Ecosystem Preserve will be going through major upgrades this semester, as Calvin has changed its vision for the area. In an effort to attract more people to the preserve and make it a more desirable environment, Calvin has undertaken a major revamp project to make it more aesthetically pleasing and bring a great variety of native plants from different environments into the region.

Russell Bray, director of the Physical Plant, explained that years ago, the original intent was to have native plants, but these native plants took over and created a lot of overgrowth.

“Since then, there’s been a desire to have a slightly different approach to the gardens there,” said Bray. “Make them more formal, still native, still native species, but position them in different kinds of soils and different kinds of sites.”

Thus, the new gardens will include “a rain garden, soils that are more sandy, soils that are more clay, to mimic different sites that we find throughout the state.” The new gardens will also have a formal setting so as to make them more aesthetically pleasing, enjoyable and educational for students and other visiting schools.

The new plants for the preserve have already arrived, and planting will begin next week. In addition, the ongoing construction project around the BIC, which began last spring, will be completed around mid-fall, with the BIC scheduled to reopen next semester. The nature preserve, however, remains open. Students are encouraged to go visit the upgraded nature preserve, especially during the spring semester, when the new plants will begin to bloom.

“It’ll be a beautiful place,” Bray added. “I think a lot of the Calvin community doesn’t even quite know what’s out there and doesn’t engage with those gardens, so I think this is going to change that too. People are going to know what’s out there and see it. It’s going to be beautiful. They’re going to want to go.”