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.
Thornhill 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.
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.