history & heritage
The Thornhill Nature Preserve was
acquired by Huntington University in 1967 through a Nature Conservancy
Loan made possible by Mabel Thorne. The 77-acre nature preserve was
owned by Ms. Thorne, a local teacher, who believed not only in the value
of education, but also of God’s creation. Her legacy has been passed on
as Huntington University students and faculty, elementary and secondary
students, teachers, and community groups have been educated and
inspired by the beauty and function of this nature preserve.
is rich in its diversity of ecosystems and wildlife. From large stands
of pines, to a deciduous woods, large pond, fields and streams, the
acreage is full of life and educational possibilities. Each season
brings change to the flora and fauna of Thornhill, but the opportunity
to learn is always present.
Through the years improvements have
been made, but the mission has remained the same: using nature as a tool
to educate and create lasting impressions of the value of God’s
creation. One of the major improvements was the addition of the Reiff
Nature Center, which was made possible by Edith Reiff who was a friend
and colleague of Mabel Thorne. The nature center houses a large
classroom with fireplace, kitchenette, resource library, computer
stations, and restroom facilities.
Huntington University has a
rich heritage of caring for and learning from the environment. Thornhill
is just one example of how education and a love for God’s creation can
go hand in hand. Coming to Thornhill provides an experience, which is
not only memorable, but also valuable. In the years to come the
Thornhill Nature Preserve will continue to serve as a place to educate
and inspire those who visit.