Woodland Dunes Nature Center began in 1965 when local resident Bernie Brouchoud began banding and releasing birds on what is now Woodland Dunes property. Little did he know that his hobby would evolve into a lifetime passion of wildlife preservation and environmental education.

Bernie and StudentsBrouchoud, a federally licensed bird bander, and a small group of interested junior high students were making regular visits to the area during weekends and eventually established a bird banding research station on the site.

Interest in the area and support grew as bird watchers, hikers, and school children visited the banding station and became intrigued by the valuable experiences the site had to offer. As more and more people visited the area it became apparent that the land should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

In 1974, the Board of Directors was formed. Membership drives began, the “Dunesletter” newsletter was created and a goal was set to attain 1,200 acres with a nature center established in the future. Funds came through recycling drives, bake sales, car washes, etc… The first land purchase of 40 acres was made at a cost of $6,000 dollars. Nature trails were added as funds permitted as well as educational programs for school children.

Brouchoud became executive director in 1976 and worked full-time in that capacity until 2004. Jim Knickelbine followed as director for 19 years, and in 2024 Sue Crowley became the 3rd Executive Director.

Today, Woodland Dunes Nature Center’s preserve covers over 1,500 acres and is home to more than 400 species of plants, 220 species of both resident and migratory birds, 40 species of mammals (including human visitors), 10 species of amphibians, and thousands of species of invertebrates. Thousands of visitors explore the preserve and attend education programs and events each year.