Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center’s Framework for the Future

A rendering of the restored prairie at Candy Flats | Photo provided

Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center recently released an updated website + new vision called “Framework for the Future.”

The multi-year planwhich includes input from over 800 staff and board members, volunteers, nearby residents + community members — is focused on making the nature center a regional leader in environmental education, conservation, and land stewardship.

Rendering of a conservation center showing two people walking and several people in the background
Rendering of the planned Conservation Center | Photo provided

Fast facts

  • The plans + changes won’t make membership costs go up, at least not anytime soon.
  • The Framework calls for greater accessibility through a multi-modal path throughout the campus that would be accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, and other conveyances (plus, the possibility of electric carts).
  • The Framework will take roughly a decade to be fully completed.
Rendering of a "canopy walk" showing an above-ground trail in the middle of a forest-like location.
Rendering of the Canopy Walk at Lookout Creek | Photo provided

The framework’s 4 objectives 

  1. Restore and steward the ecological integrity of the region’s native habitats
  2. Promote ecological literacy in Chattanooga’s diverse communities through hands-on experiences
  3. Cultivate an inclusive + accessible environment that promotes physical and mental well-being for all
  4. Plan for sustainable growth + anticipate change
Rendering of a "wildlife center" that shows two people with binoculars overlooking a raptor enclosure and red wolf enclosure.
Rendering of the Wildlife Center | Photo provided

What’s to come

  • An immersive entrance to a new visitor center with views of Lookout Mountain and connections to a trail network + education and programming throughout the 300-acre site
  • A focus on restorating key native plant communities throughout the site—including grasslands, endangered prairies, pine savannas, wet meadows, and more. Seeds and cuttings for these efforts will be sourced directly from the new, on-site native plant nursery + restoration will be integrated into educational programs
  • An expanded nursery located next to the new visitor center offering space for education, group gathering, receptions, and sales + plant propagation.
  • A new canopy walk that will raise the existing boardwalk above the projected flood levels of Lookout Creek
  • A wayfinding system that transforms the existing trail network into a system of “thematic loops” 
  • Digital tools to allow educators + visitors to conduct crowd-sourced monitoring of the landscapes