2nd Annual S’more Fun with Mom, A Hit With Area Families


2015 Smore Fun - 3Co-hosted with the City of Auburn, the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center held its 2nd annual S’more Fun with Mom event in honor of Mother’s Day on May 7 and 8. With crickets chirping and lightning bugs twinkling, mothers and sons shared a festive evening that included a nature hike, craft, cookout dinner, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, and storytelling.

“I heard about the event last year and knew that I wanted to take my son this year,” said attendee Karen Burton. “I found out about it again this year and think it’s a really unique event and decided that it would be something fun for my son Joey and me, because he loves science and is very nature oriented,” she added.

Over 50 mother and son pairs attended the program each night; enjoying the outdoors while learning interesting facts about the local flora and fauna during a naturalist-led nature hike through the KPNC that included a hands-on learning experience with some of the “critters” that call the preserve home. After a cookout dinner, the mother and sons visited the covered pavilion to build a picture frame and sit for a keepsake portrait.2015 Smore Fun - 4

Much of the evening was spent around the campfire enjoying the fresh evening air while roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. “I never thought I would use a fire pit until tonight,” said Karen Burton. “Joey has loved it and we have had so much fun making s’mores together!” she said.

To conclude the evening’s activities, storyteller Lee Piskorz captivated the audience gathered at the outdoor amphitheater with her animated tales of fun characters learning positive life lessons of courage and loyalty. “This is my first year getting to tell stories at this event and I have really enjoyed it!” said Ms. Piskorz.

According to KPNC outreach administrator, Jennifer Lolley, “It is wonderful to see these mothers and sons having this time together in the outdoors. It really does create a bonding memory for them to share long after the night is over.” Lolley went on to state, “We really have to credit our sponsors: Auburn Opelika Tourism Bureau, Publix at Cary Creek, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, and JRogers Photography, for making this fun event possible for our community. The fact that tickets sold out for both nights tells us that these types of experiences are important for families, and the support from our sponsors confirms they absolutely agree!”

2015 Smore Fun - 2The Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, a community outreach program of Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, was established in 1993 by a gift of land from Louise Kreher Turner and Frank Allen Turner. The 120-acre property features five miles of hiking trails, amphitheater, pavilion and nature playground. The preserve offers ample parking, restrooms and drinking fountains and is open to the public daily at no charge from sunrise to sunset.

Candid event photos available for download via Facebook.

Contacts: Jennifer Lolley, (334) 707-6512, (preserve@auburn.edu) or Jamie Anderson, (334) 703-2953, (jla0015@auburn.edu).

Landscape Watercolor Class To Be Offered 5/20

2015 Water Color Class 600













Join local artist, Cindy Mask, where she will lead this introductory art class through the process of creating their own watercolor painting. Class will meet at the pavilion on Wednesday, May 20 at 9:30 a.m. Supplies provided. Canceled in the event of rain. Email preserve@auburn.edu to register.

The Kreher Preserve & Nature Center is located at 2222 N. College Street, Auburn, just north of the AU Fisheries complex. Email preserve@auburn.edu or call 334-844-8091 for more information.


KIA Motors Manufacturing Renews Support

ForestEcologyCheckPresWe are pleased to announce that Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Inc. (KMMG) has renewed its support for the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center 5K Trail Run, Tot Trot and Sunday Stroll. This partnership represents Kia’s commitment to promote environmental education, while positively impacting the quality of life of its employees that live in the East Alabama/West Georgia region.

The trail run slated to occur on May 17 at 2:30 p.m., will feature a Tot Trot and Sunday Stroll in addition to the main race. “This is a great way for everyone to get involved, regardless of age or fitness level,” says Lolley. “This is a unique race; trail runs have gained in popularity in recent years, and ours offers an exciting experience even for the most seasoned of runners.”

Proceeds from the race support educational programs, operations and maintenance of trails at the Kreher Preserve. Says Lolley, “We are grateful that Kia has once again committed to help raise awareness and funds for the KPNC. Our shared goal is to show off this beautiful property and promote fitness at the same time.”

“We are excited to partner with Auburn University’s Kreher Preserve and Nature Center,” said Randy Jackson, KMMG’s senior vice president of human resources and administration, who was on hand for the presentation. “One of the pillars of KMMG’s corporate social responsibility is giving back to our environment. Through this contribution and the participation from several KMMG team members, we are helping to provide free and open green space and environmental programs for students that will have a positive impact in this region.”

Race date is Sunday, May 17, 2015. Event day registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. with the race starting at 2:30 p.m., the Sunday Stroll at 3:00 p.m. and the Tot Trot at 3:30 p.m. Participants may register online via the KPNC marketplace. Visit the auburn.edu/preserve for race details and registration.

The Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve, a community outreach program of Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, was established in 1993 by a gift of land from Louise Kreher Turner and Frank Allen Turner. The 120-acre property features five miles of hiking trails, amphitheater, pavilion and nature playground. The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center offers ample parking, restrooms and drinking fountains and is open daily to the public at no charge from sunrise to sunset. The preserve is located on 2222 North College Street, just north of the Auburn University Fisheries Complex.

Photo caption:

Pictured, presenting the check to Jennifer Lolley and Sharon Tatum of the Auburn University Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, are Randy Jackson, KMMG’s senior vice president of human resources and administration, with KMMG team members Ken Noh, assistant manager – general assembly; Jacob Marrero, specialist – procurement; Kendra Gunn, specialist – general affairs; and James Corless, specialist – maintenance.

Advisory Board Expands Its Membership

KPNC LRG VERTThe Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve Advisory Board serves to generate community awareness, monetary support, and provide guidance and recommendations for the operations, programs, and development initiatives of the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center (KPNC). The board has recently grown to 12 members with the addition of leaders hailing from academia, business, and government. As the board moves forward with drafting the nature center’s first long-range strategic plan, the addition of new members will assure representation of key stakeholders while expanding its collective expertise in the focus areas of: education and programs, conservation and research, facilities and grounds, development and finance, and outreach and public relations.

With gratitude for their service, we introduce and welcome new Advisory Board members:

Dr. Ross Ann Craig

Dr. Craig has been in the field of higher education throughout her career, working at several major institutions including the University of Florida, University of Delaware, Rollins College and Delaware County Community College where she last held the position of VP for Client Services. For 30 years she also coached and taught students in a Michigan leadership camp operated by The American Youth Foundation; which had partnered with Outward Bound. Dr. Craig was also a significant leader in adult education and assessment through the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, teaching in the National Institute for Experiential Learning in Princeton and teaching interview techniques in the United States and in England.

Of her service as a board member, Dr. Craig states, “Serving on the board of the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center allows me to support the preservation and beauty of the natural environment in Auburn while supporting the extension of learning and recreation to our community in creative ways through its marvelous program.”

Dr. Craig has recently returned to Auburn where her grandmother had a rooming house in the 1920’s. She has one son Rob who will receive his PhD in Chemistry from Caltech in June. She enjoys her home and garden and the new and old friends who often fill her life. She also loves to find interesting used things at estate and garage sales and gives them a new home.

Dr. Wayde Morse

Dr. Morse is an Associate Professor of Human Dimensions within the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences (SFWS). He has a strong interdisciplinary background and a significant record of research, publications and teaching in ecosystem services, nature-based recreation, human dimensions of wildlife, interdisciplinary research and linked social ecological systems nationally and in Latin America.

He has been instrumental in promoting the SFWS’s new degree of Natural Resources Management (NRM); which includes studies in many disciplines relevant to the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center including nature-based recreation, natural resource ecology, watershed management, and urban environmental management.

Dr. Morse feels there is great opportunity to engage NRM students in the KPNC’s operations and activities. “Our students have benefited from linking classroom projects to the Preserve such as we have done with the signage from our environmental interpretation course and will do with new projects from the nature-based recreation class.” As a new board member, he states, “I am excited to participate in developing programs and interpretive functions that will increase the educational value provided by the nature center for our students and the community.”

Dr. Morse resides in Auburn with his wife Jennifer and their children, Marisol and Forrest and enjoys coaching, watching, and playing soccer with his family. His other passions include global travel and spending time outdoors camping, hiking, and mountain biking.

Mr. Joey Motley

Mr. Motley has worked in manufacturing for 34 years as a plant manager after holding various management positions for 26 years. He is currently the City Administrator for the City of Opelika. Prior to coming on board with the City Administration, Mr. Motley was the City Council representative for Ward 3 for six years. Joey Motley was born in Opelika, Alabama. He graduated from Opelika High School in 1975 and attended Auburn University, majoring in Textile Management Technology. In his private life, Joey has served as a volunteer and leader within his church and many other civic groups and athletic associations.

Joey feels his service as a board member will give the city of Opelika an insight to the park and help share its mission with our community. “It is a wonderful resource that can be enjoyed by everyone.”

He is married to Dinah Horn Motley and has two sons, Matthew and Michael.

Ms. Becky Richardson

Ms. Richardson joined the City of Auburn Parks and Recreation department in 1977 and serves as the City’s Parks and Recreation Director. Becky holds a B.S. degree from Judson College and a MEd from Auburn University. She is actively involved in many civic organizations including the Auburn Rotary Club, Auburn Beautification Council, and is a volunteer for the United States Tennis Association Southern and of Alabama.

Becky states of her service with the KPNC, “As a parks professional I realize the value of outdoor recreation opportunities to a healthy community.  Having such a wonderful natural area that in addition offers so many great programs is an asset for our community.”

She resides in Auburn and enjoys flower gardening, walking her dogs, and playing tennis.

Dr. Lewis Scharpf

During his career, Dr. Scharpf completed 35 years of service with two fortune-500 companies in biochemical research and development and later in research management. He then went on to serve within the Auburn University Research and Technology Foundation where his responsibilities included the identification, protection, and licensing of new Auburn intellectual property. Dr. Scharpf also assisted in bringing new financial resources to the university in the form of business entrepreneurs interested in forming start-up companies based on university developed technology. He holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Iowa State University.

Dr. Scharpf is a lifelong birder and an insect enthusiast and has been involved with local nature and birding groups. Most recently, as a past president of the Board of Directors of the Wood Duck Heritage Preserve and Siddique Nature Park in Opelika. He is also a member of the Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, and other environmental/nature groups. As a vehicle for wildlife education and conservation, Dr. Scharpf’s photography has been published in a number of nature, wildlife, and biological books and journals.

About his new role as a board member, he states, “Participation with the KPNC will allow me to introduce others to the wonders of wildlife and the need for its conservation; a lifelong passion of mine.”

Dr. Scharpf and his wife reside in Auburn. They enjoy visiting their children and eight grandchildren.

Mr. John Wild

Mr. Wild has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for 30 years, serving as President of the Tourism Bureau since May of 2003 while previously managing the Auburn University Hotel & Dixon Conference Center and several other hotels in seven states. John is actively involved in the community and serves on the boards of many local and industry organizations including the Auburn Rotary Club, United Way of Lee County and the Alabama Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

He feels the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center is a valuable resource for the Auburn-Opelika area and would like to be involved in making it well known to all in the area while acting as an attraction to those visiting our towns. “The Center has so much to offer from a variety of programming to other outdoor activities that it would be a shame for someone to miss out just because they didn’t know it was open to all.”

John is an avid photographer and enjoys attending many of the local events and taking sports photos for the Auburn Villager. While a true Auburn fan, he has lived in several university towns and still responds to Go Green or Go Buffs! John, with his wife Barbara, have two grown children living in North Carolina and the Atlanta area. Hiking in the mountains or on trails in the West with his camera is a favorite hobby.

New KPNC Advisory Board members join sitting board members:

Dr. Richard Brinker, Dean Emeritus, School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences; Ms. Deborah Brooks, Principal, Pick Elementary School; Mrs. Margaret Holler, Former KPNC administrator and educator; Dr. Emily Kling, Extension Specialist Emerita, Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Johnny Lawrence, Lee County Commissioner; Ms. Jocelyn Zanzot, Assistant Professor, School of Design, Architecture and Construction; Ex-Officio member, Dr. B. Graeme Lockaby, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences Interim Dean and McClure Professor; and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Arthur Chappelka, Interim Assistant Dean of Research and Alumni Professor, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.

KPNC Advisory Board members may be reached for questions or comments at preserve@auburn.edu.


Free Jazz Concert to be Held 4/26 at the KPNC




Join us for a fun afternoon of live jazz at the amphitheater featuring the Auburn University Music Department’s Saxophone Quartet on Sunday, April 26. Directed by Dr. Michael Pendowski.  The concert will begin at 3:30 p.m. Picnics and chairs are welcomed. Free admission. Canceled in the event of rain.

The Kreher Preserve and Nature Center is located at 2222 N. College Street, Auburn, AL.





KPNC Awarded AU Facilities Matching Grant

With the financial support and guidance of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center (KPNC) pursued and was recently awarded an Auburn University Facilities Management FY15 Repair & Renovation (R&R) competitive matching grant for funds needed for the installation of new lighting, a playground vault restroom unit, and an automated gate for the Farmville Road entrance.

photo-9The addition of a restroom within the playground will offer an added convenience for visitors to this area and enable the KPNC to better serve large crowds during events. This restroom would also allow the pavilion and amphitheater to be more fully used for academic purposes and private groups when it is not being used for educational programs.

New low-impact lighting fixtures will be installed on the property along the Wax Myrtle Lane, leading from the parking area to the pavilion, from the pavilion to the amphitheater, and within the handicap parking area. The improved lighting will allow the nature center to expand its program offerings into the evening hours, enable nighttime private rentals for weddings and other events, and provide a safer environment for staff that may need to patrol the trails and buildings at night.

The addition of an automated gate at the Preserve’s north entrance parking area located on Farmville Road will provide greater public access to some of the Preserve’s natural elements such as the turtle pond, stream, wetland, and waterfall, as well as to improved areas such as the butterfly garden, historic Cooper Homestead and vegetable garden, and many trails and boardwalks that transect the north property. These features are now off-limits to many people who would enjoy this area, but are unable, or prefer not, to traverse the distance from the College Street entrance. Opening the Farmville Road parking area will allow a larger segment of the population to conveniently access these features while enabling the Nature Center to more easily incorporate these elements into its educational programming.

This matching grant award represents a significant investment by Auburn University to provide funds required for materials, design, and construction with the remaining half to be matched by the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center through the School’s general funds and private donations to the KPNC. It is anticipated that the projects will be completed by the fall of 2015.

Individuals or groups wishing to support these projects with their tax-deductible contributions may do so online or by contacting Sharon Tatum, SFWS development coordinator, at (334) 844-1983 or via email at sst0003@auburn.edu.

Spotlight on Service

This semester at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, we have been fortunate to receive the support of many groups of student volunteers. We are thankful for the service of groups from The BIG Event, the ROTC, Arnold Air Society, Alpha Phi Omega, IMPACT, and a group from Illinois State University with the “Students Today, Leaders Forever” program.


These volunteers have helped to maintain the beauty and quality of KPNC by helping to upkeep the trails, Turtle Habitat, Amphitheater, Fire Pit, Vegetable Garden, Butterfly Garden, Pavilion and more.

Students with the “Students Today, Leaders Forever,” said that they were spending their spring break travelling from Jacksonville, Fla. to Philadelphia, Penn. volunteering in six different cities as part of a “Pay it Forward Tour.” Of all the places they had been so far, the students said that working outside in the beauty and serenity of KPNC was by far their favorite volunteer experience.


Christian Gibbens, IMPACT Project Coordinator at KPNC, has enjoyed volunteering throughout his life. As soon as he was old enough to drive, Christian began using his free time volunteering in his community on his own and with his mom. “The thing I like most about serving is that no matter what you’re doing, you’re making some situation better for someone else, which is really cool to think about,” said Christian.

While leading volunteer groups at KPNC this year, Christian said that what he enjoys most is getting to spend time outdoors doing something that is impactful. “I love the opportunity to get outside and do something. As a student, 90% of my time is spent indoors (in class, studying, sleeping), which is tough because I love to be outside. The preserve is a really cool place with beautiful and neat areas and I love being able to be outside for a couple of hours doing something,” he said.


With all of the events offered at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center every semester, we would not have been able to maintain the preserve without the help from the selfless students who love to serve the Auburn community in this way. To all who gave of their time and service, we thank you!


Written by Ivy Sibley, KPNC Communications & Marketing Intern








Lolley Nominated for Environmental Educator Award

Local author Daisy Griffin has nominated Jennifer Lolley, Kreher Preserve and Nature Center outreach administrator, for one of the Environmental Education Association of Alabama’s Best Environmental Education Programs in Alabama awards. The BEEP awards are given in the categories of Best School Project, Best Environmental Education Course or Curriculum, Best Community Environmental Education Project and Best Environmental Educator.

Daisy Griffin is a best-selling author on Amazon.com.  Her Samantha Series of Chapter Books has been sold internationally, but Auburn is where she calls home.  Her books are eco-fiction, written to educate as they entertain.  Daisy has taught the Forest Friends program and first became familiar with the BEEP awards when Forest Friends won the BEEP award for Best Environmental Education Course of the year. When Daisy saw that the nominations were available for this year, she nominated Jennifer for the Best Environmental Educator.

schoolgrouppresentation5“In the years that I have known her I have constantly been impressed with the level of care and insight Jennifer lends to all the programs she is involved with.  To meet with Jennifer Lolley is to become inspired about nature.  I can think of no one who would deserve the award more than she,” said Daisy.

Jennifer creates and provides environmental education programs that engage and captivate community members from preschool children to senior citizens. No matter the subject material or the age group, Jennifer adapts the content so that everyone in her audience will leave a program or conversation having learned far more than they did before. “Jennifer Lolley creates a love of nature in all who meet her… (she) is the embodiment of a great Environmental Educator and the effects of her work ripple throughout our community,” said Daisy. All who meet Jennifer confirm this and often share of how impactful Jennifer has been on how they view the environment and the way they look at the world around them.

EEAA will announce recipients of the BEEP awards soon.

Written by Ivy Sibley, KPNC Communications & Marketing Intern

Openings Still Available for Summer Ecology Camp



This year’s summer ecology camp theme is Flying High! Birds fly! Bats fly! Dragonflies fly! Campers will learn all about the amazing flights of our friends in nature and of man’s venture to fly too! Campers will enjoy nature studies, crafts, games, hikes and more.

Camps are held Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  (Except Camp Discovery) Drop off begins at 7:45 a.m. Camps are for children in upcoming grades 1st – 7th. Registration is $100 and includes a daily snack, activities, and a camp t-shirt. KPNC membership at the Magnolia level ($35 or above) is required for registration. Visit auburn.edu/preserve to join.

Online registration begins April 1st (8:00 a.m. CT). Visit the KPNC Marketplace to register.

Available camps include (openings as of 5/13/15):

May 26 – 29 (4 openings)
Camp Discovery – for upcoming 3rd and 4th grades. This session will be Tuesday – Friday and will include a night session on Thursday, May 29th, for the whole family to attend.

June 1 – June 5 (1 opening)
Young Naturalist I – for upcoming 1st and 2nd grades.

June 8 – June 12 (3 openings)
Junior Rangers – for upcoming 5th through 7th grades.  In addition to activities related to the summer camp theme, Flying High!,  campers will also learn about the responsibilities of park/wilderness rangers, including outdoor survival skills such as fire and shelter building, first aid, and more.

June 15 – June 19 (11 openings)
Young Naturalist II – for upcoming 1st and 2nd grades.

June 22 – June 26 – FULL 
Explorers – for mixed ages, upcoming 1st through 6th grades.  Ideal for siblings.

All camps are held at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center, located at 2222 N. College Street, Auburn, just north of the AU Fisheries complex. Email preserve@auburn.edu or call 334-844-8091 for more information.

Individuals from 13 – 17 years of age who would like to participate in the Summer Ecology Camp program as a Counselor In Training (CIT), must complete and mail the application form to the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center by May 15, 2015. Applications can be emailed to preserve@auburn.edu or mailed to LKFEP, 3301 SFWS Building, 602 Duncan Drive, Auburn, AL, 36849.

5K Trail Run Online Pre-Registration Extended to 5/15

2015-5KRaceWebBannerCome explore the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center’s beautiful forested trails on this carefully measured, well- marked 5K course. Splits will be given at 1 and 2 mile marks. Those who prefer are invited to walk the course.  Proceeds benefit the nature center’s operations and environmental education programs. Sponsored by Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and Master Graphics. Race organized by Auburn Opelika Running and Track Association, AORTA.

The 5K race starts at 2:30 p.m.  Sunday Stroll starts at 3:00 p.m. and the Tot Trot starts at 3:30 p.m. Race day registration begins at 1:00 p.m. Registration fees vary and include t-shirt, snacks and door prizes.  Pre-registration is $20 per runner, $10 for tots, and $15 for strollers. Race day registration is $25 per runner. Same fees apply for tots and strollers. T-shirts will be given to all who pre-registered before May 12, 2015. T-shirts are not guaranteed for online registrants after this date or those who enter the day of the race. A signed waiver is required for participation. Register securely online at the KPNC Events Online Marketplace. Online pre-registration will close May 15, 2015.

5K Awards: Top 3 male and female; 1st and 2nd in 10 year groups; 1st Master male and female. Tot Trot Awards: All finishers receive a finisher’s ribbon.

Visit auburn.edu/preserve or mail preserve@auburn.edu for more information. Race held at the Kreher Preserve & Nature Center located at 2222 N. College Street, Auburn, Al. Email preserve@auburn.edu or contact Jennifer Lolley at 334-707-6512 with questions.