Gateway Outdoor Learning Center

About Us:

In 2012 the Gateway Outdoor Learning Center was founded by Matt Crawford and volunteers from the Conneaut community with support from the Conneaut Area City Schools. He had a vision of providing a place where students and the community could experience and learn about the natural world. Discussions and meetings with teachers, administrators, and Board of Education members, ultimately lead to the establishment of the Outdoor Learning Center on the grounds of the Gateway Middle School. This initial relationship has grown to include local businesses, individual stakeholders, city, county and state entities.

Our Mission:

The Gateway Outdoor Learning Center is a non profit corporation whose mission is to provide a nature preserve that will inspire wonder, understanding and connection to the natural world through environmental learning.

Our Key Projects:

  • 2012 – Original woodland trail is created
  • 2014 – ‘Science Circle’ classroom is added with whiteboard and seating for 30 students
  • 2016 – Butterfly and Pollinator Garden established by Ashtabula County Master Gardeners
  • 2018 – ‘Science Station’ is added and garden expanded

Yearly Events:

  • NEOPS Pollinator Festival
  • Discovery Day

A supporter writes:

As spring unfolds, I can’t help but be excited about a new season at the Outdoor Learning Center! So much to see and do – bee hives, pollinator garden, weather station, windmill, and wonderful easy to  trails to walk native plants clearly marked – oh – and a vernal pool as well plus learning areas for Conneaut students! At this difficult time in life, the best thing about the OLC is that it is easy to enjoy this beautiful center while social distancing at the same time. Summer will come, the birds, bees and butterflies will arrive and the cycle of life will continue. You will want to be a part of all that the OLC has to offer our community!

As the summer season winds down, we can enjoy one day devoted to all Mother Nature has to offer us at the Outdoor Learning Center by participating in the OLC Discovery Day on the second Saturday in September! What do I like best about Discovery Day? I love seeing parents, family and friends take their children for a hike in the woods using a simple scavenger hunt provided by the Conneaut Convention and Visitors Bureau. There is nothing like a walk in the woods to pique the interest of children in all that Mother Nature has to offer. The scavenger hunt is simply a starting point for exploration! It can encourage families to return to the OLC for more exploration!

What else do I love about OLC Discovery Day? Last year it was setting Monarch Butterflies free that had recently hatched! What a thrill for our granddaughters! We all enjoyed other activities especially nature-centered crafts, and activities like fly fishing and archery. There is nothing better than watching children interact with adults to learn  more about the great outdoors!

Please plan to attend the 2020 Outdoor Learning Center Discovery Day on Saturday, September 12, from 10 am to 3 pm. Bring your family and any other young people you can include. You’ll be so glad you did!

Meanwhile, enjoy a little scavenger hunt with your family some time!

Connie Naylor