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Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center

Notice: Because of the large at risk population at the Shelby Township Activities Center/Shelby Township Senior Center and the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center, these buildings are closed to the public until Sunday, April 5.

The PRM Department and nature center will be issuing a full refund for all cancelled events or programs. For more details you can call the office at 586-731-0300. Thank you. 

In continuing the legacy of its founder and namesake Jo Burgess, the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center provides nature-related experiences and activities to help visitors of all ages develop and rekindle an awareness and appreciation for the natural world around them.

Monday     Closed 
Tuesday           Closed
Wednesday       10 AM - 6 PM 
Thursday 10 AM - 6 PM 
Friday 10 AM - 6 PM 
Saturday 10 AM - 6 PM 
Sunday Noon - 5 PM
  Jo Burgess 
  Jo Burgess

Nature News

Adopt An Animal
Interested in adopting an animal? This is a great way to introduce to your child what it means to care for an animal. Your donation will help fund animal care and unexpected expenses such as vet bills. As part of the adoption, the adopter’s name will go on a list of contributors and put on display around the Nature Center. Please contact the nature center at 586-323-2478 or for further details or to sign up for an adoption. 

Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center Animal Adoption flyer

Explore at the Nature Center
We have several miles of nature trails on our grounds. A boardwalk trail leads through a Tamarack swamp and ends at a Scout Pavilion at the river. The Clinton River Hike and Bike Trail passes by the Nature Center on its way to the Shooting Range and we have several unpaved trails that take you into River Bends park and along the water that you can bike, hike or walk.

Learn at the Nature Center
Plan a field trip
The Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center welcomes individual scouting groups, school groups, and organizations to schedule programs with us.  All ages are welcome, and we are excited to plan an event suited to your wishes.  We invite you to contact the Nature Center for a listing of topics that we offer or to tailor a program to badge, classroom, or other learning requirements.  At least one adult leader is required for every 6 youth attending the program.  Please contact the Nature Center for details and availability.

Nature Center Teaching Gardens

Enjoy our award-winning Teaching Gardens when you visit the center. The Pollinator Garden is a great way see just how important pollinating animals and insects are to plant life. The Herb Garden identifies the delicious herbs usually found in our kitchen. The Deer-Resistant Garden is a fenced area to keep out deer and demonstrate the impact those animals have on the ecosystem.


These beautiful and educational gardens are maintained by a crew of volunteers coordinated by dedicated Shelby Township resident, Dianne Granthen. Break out your camera to capture the beauty or just take a stroll and let nature find you - these gardens are a must-see.

Make Learning Second Nature 
History of River Bends Park and Shadbush Tract
Earn Your Merit at the Nature Center

Recycle at the Nature Center

Appreciating nature is at the core of everything we do at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center. It is paramount that we make sure we safeguard our environment so future generations can enjoy it as well. This is why we have many programs that promote conservation, recycling and other steps you can take here and at home to promote an environmentally- friendly lifestyle. Follow the links below for more information of some of our programs, educational resources and facilities to help us ensure our township’s and planet’s continued well-being.

Recycle at the Nature Center 
Help the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center raise funds for Animal Care & Programming. Use the Paper Retriever Dumpster located near the River Bends Shooting Range.

Rethink Food Waste with the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center

In the United States alone, 31 percent of the food produced across the country is wasted at the retail or consumer level. That means that, annually, we discard 133 billion pounds of food that is perfectly good to eat. Changes that you and your friends can make in your homes and communities will go a long way toward limiting food waste.

Raising recycling awareness through education

Though a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and working with Recycle, Michigan, the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center developed a series of informative educational resources to highlight the environmental impact of modern life. Whether it is water use, composting or reducing energy consumption, these resources show how small, everyday changes in our lives can have lasting impacts on the planet. Download the educational posters below to share with your class, friends or families.


upcycle   water  garbage

Upcycling: Re-purposing with a Purpose

Do you know where water comes from?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

 energycon 2  dirt  compost

Why conserve energy?

Who made all this dirt?

Compost - A Pile of Fun

bottle   bags2
Disposable Water Bottles  

Where are your plastic bags going?

Birthdays at the Nature Center
You can hold your child's next birthday party at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center. The party includes a chance to touch, hold and be photographed with some live animals. Weather permitting, it also includes our popular nature walk. Your reservation will include the use of our multi-purpose room for  four hours. The room holds about 24 adults and children.

Hosts are responsible for decorations, food, table covers, cake and party favors. Parties are available select days, typically Saturday or Sunday afternoons when nature center events don't conflict. The fee is $120 for Shelby Township and Utica residents and $145 for non-residents. The reservation is confirmed when payment is made. You can register in person at the nature center with cash or check. Call the nature center at 586-323-2478 or email for more details.

Support the Nature Center
While this list is not all-inclusive, there are many ways to help support the work and education of our Nature Center. Please contact the Nature Center Coordinator to discuss your donation further. 

Financial Support
Adopting an Animal, supporting Nature Center Programs and Events, and your financial contributions to our donation bin are all great ways to help us defray our costs. Donations of Amazon or local pet store gift cards-even with a partial balance also go a long way to assist in Nature Center upkeep.

Gifts In Kind 
Donate new or gently-used goods or services that would benefit the Nature Center’s cause. Animal Care items, mounted specimens, live specimens, and natural material exhibits are always a good fit, as are Taxidermy and Veterinary services.

Planned Giving
Leave a lasting impression by including the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in your will, living trust, or by naming us as a beneficiary on your insurance policies.

Parks, Recreation & Maintenance Director Joe Youngblood
Nature Center Coordinator Jim Gammicchia
Assistant Nature Interpreter Megan English

Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center
4101 River Bends Drive 
Shelby Township, Michigan 48317
Phone: 586-323-2478   
Fax: 586-323-2479