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Brukner Nature Center

Brukner Nature Center is a non-profit, privately funded organization promoting the appreciation and understanding of wildlife conservation through preservation, education, and rehabilitation. The purpose of our wildlife rehabilitation program is to educate people regarding the natural history of Ohio’s wildlife, to offer help and advice when wildlife and people conflict, and to care for, rehabilitate, and release native Ohio wildlife expected to survive in their natural environment.

Brukner Nature Center opened to the public in 1974 and is the vision of Clayton J. Brukner, a local inventor and philanthropist. The 165-acre preserve is traversed by 6 miles of hiking trails and visitors can enjoy an Interpretive Building, Wildlife Ambassadors on display, and the 1804 Iddings Log House.

Clayton J. Brukner was born December 18, 1896, in Ravenna, Nebraska. In 1923 with high school chum and business partner, E.J. "Sam" Junkin, he brought the Weaver Aircraft Company to Troy, Ohio. The company name was eventually changed to the WACO Aircraft Company, which soon became the most successful civil aircraft manufacturer of the pre-World War II era. Brukner also had a great love for nature and in 1933 bought 146 acres of land along the Stillwater River, not known for its productivity, but rather for its natural beauty. He unveiled his plans to build a nature center on this site and in May 1974, Brukner Nature Center opened to the public.

The center has grown to a 165-acre preserve with services reaching 21 counties. Over 45,000 people have enjoyed its innovative hands-on wildlife program, and each year over 120,000 visitors enjoy its public events, take a stroll in the woods or visit with our wildlife ambassadors. In 1998, an addition to the Interpretive Building doubled its size and now provides accessibility to everyone to all three floors of the center, including its popular Tree-top Bird Vista. In 2011, a newly renovated interpretive area in our downstairs wildlife exhibit rooms was opened and the main lobby renovation was completed in May 2016.

Brukner Nature Center is home to over 50 wildlife ambassadors, native Ohio species that can no longer survive in the wild and are housed in both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Visitors can see American Eagles, Opossum, reptiles such as the Spotted Salamander and the American Toad, Little Brown bat, and the Barred Owl. In addition to the exhibits, visitors can also view birds in their natural environment atop the Tree-top Bird Vista viewing platform.

The new satellite preserve is open to the public from sunrise to sunset every day of the year and is located just a few miles southwest of the center. A paver walkway leads to an information panel and the Cascades Loop trailhead. Enjoy the hike as it follows the crest of the ravine, providing excellent opportunities for birdwatching in the treetops below. It also passes a small limestone cascade that flows only in the wetter months, but is a unique ecosystem supporting rare flora and fauna. The trail follows an old access road down into the forested valley then back up a gently sloping rise back to the parking lot.

An integral part of Brukner Nature Center’s interpretive program, the 1804 Iddings Log House also holds an important place in the history of Miami County. The Iddings family is originally descended from the Norsemen and came to America in 1683. Richard Iddings and his wife, Sarah Thomas, arrived in Philadelphia, very near a little place called Valley Forge. Richard and Sarah Iddings were the grandparents of two famous figures in Ohio history, General “Mad” Anthony Wayne and Benjamin Iddings.

In 1795, the Ohio territory was opened for settlement and Benjamin moved his family to Miami County, acquiring a patent on 160 acres on which he constructed the log house. Benjamin and his wife, Phoebe, lived here with six of their ten children. In 1976, the 1804 Iddings Log House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and a successful restoration was completed in 1981.


A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Brukner Nature Center

Brukner Nature Center is an award-winning wildlife education and conservation center, preserving 235 acres of native habitats with over 6 miles of hiking trails.

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  • Brukner Nature Center
  • Troy
  • (937) 698-6493