Erie Metroparks' Nature on Wheels program brings nature to you

Erie MetroParks’ latest venture, EMP Nature on Wheels, is ready to roll into a neighborhood near you.

EMP NOW, a mobile nature unit, brings science and nature education almost literally to your doorstep in the form of educational and exploration tools, including microscopes, insect nets, mammal furs, soil and water tests, binoculars, animal skulls, identification guides and enviroscapes, according to Michael Hensley, naturalist and program manager for Erie MetroParks.

“We will continue to add things as EMP NOW grows and is used more throughout the community,” Hensley says.

The unit even includes live animals that are a part of EMP NOW’s education program, Hensley says.

 “So far, we have brought our snakes, turtles, salamanders, and mammal furs and skulls to programs,” he says. “We have also focused on insects, monarch butterflies, and other features that are in the neighborhoods and parks we travel to.”  

Erie MetroParks is working with local city parks and organizations to increase access to nature and conservation education for those who have been unable to visit local parks or programs. “Equity and accessibility are the main areas of focus and planning for EMP NOW,” Hensley notes. “We also hope to inspire a love and appreciation for the natural world.”

In 2022, Erie MetroParks partnered with the City of Sandusky Recreation Department, the City of Vermillion, Perkins Township, and OHgo. EMP is developing its 2023 schedule now, so if you are interested in hosting EMP NOW at your park or neighborhood, contact Hensley at [email protected].

Youth get up close and personal with Erie Metroparks new nature program