NEDERLAND, Colo. (KDVR) — A nature center in the Town of Nederland is getting closer to its goal of being the first of it’s kind thanks to a grant from Boulder County.

The Wild Bear Nature Center is hoping to become the nation’s highest net-zero nature center and it needs $9 million to do so.

“I founded it because I, myself, grew up in the mountains of northern Colorado and that was what my childhood was built on,” Jill Dreves, said.

Dreves is the executive director of the nature center.

The outdoor hikes, activities and programs, she said, are a way to pass nature to the next generation.

“To remove the fear, to enhance the love, to feel the appreciation and the joy of being in the outdoors and the feelings of the healing powers of nature,” Dreves said.

The Wild Bear Nature Center was recently awarded a $250,000 grant by the Boulder County Worthy Cause Fund.

“This grant from Boulder County has pushed us over $6 million raised and that’s through individual donors and grants and some that are giving in kind,” Dreves said.

The worthy cause is to expand the outreach and impact of the nature center which has already seen its influence grow since it opened in 2010. The center has 25,000 visitors annually, 50 children visit everyday each summer which is up from the eight children everyday when the nature center opened.

“It’s been a really exciting grassroots community effort to build a nature center that’ll be accessible to all,” Dreves said.

The impact could be even greater as the center hopes to become the highest net-zero nature center in the country.

By October 2024, Wild Bear Nature Center hopes to raise $9 million toward the goal. Click here to make a donation to the Wild Bear Nature Center.

“It’ll be tied into the grid,” Dreves said. “It’ll be net-positive, actually, because it will be providing energy to the Town of Nederland.”