Welcome to Heckrodt Wetland Reserve

enhance • restore • preserve • educate

Urban Nature Reserve

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a 91-acre urban nature reserve with habitats including forested wetland, cattail marsh, open water, created prairie, open field, and upland forest. Persisting despite the urbanization that continues to grow around it, the Reserve is home to numerous species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Migrating songbirds and waterfowl nest and feed in its protection.

Our unique and convenient location allows visitors an easy day trip within city limits that makes them feel as though they have traveled much further from home.

Close up of monarch butterfly on flower

The Nature Center

Explore environmental exhibits in the 4,000-square-foot Nature Center at Heckrodt Wetland Reserve. Learn about the importance of local wetlands; find aquariums that are home to local fishes, frogs, turtles, and snakes; and experience hands-on activities. The Nature Center facilities feature an interpretive gallery, restrooms, kitchen, solarium, and classroom/rental space.

Trail System

Heckrodt has a large trail system throughout the Reserve offering spectacular views throughout of various natural habitats and wildlife. Interpretive areas are located throughout the trail system to provide information on the different environments through the Reserve. Find different trail options for your preferred length of walk for the day.

Programs & Events

Educational programs offer a variety of topics that are of interest to a broad age range from youth to adults. Heckrodt Wetland Reserve programs are developed by trained naturalists and focus on our local  environment.  These programs are intensely hands-on and designed to foster an ethic of environmental appreciation and stewardship.

Community Programs Map

Reaching the Community through Education

Did you know that in 2023, Heckrodt taught 50 Community programs, reaching 4,213 participants in over 50 different communities? A record number of participants attended our community programs in 2023 making it our most successful year yet.  This past year also brought new programing opportunities to the Reserve through our first ever Owl Prowl and an educational program hosted by Heckrodt’s Conservation Crew. Our 2023 programs also featured the Heckrodt Book Club which invited guest readers who helped to connect nature and literacy. The Book Club gave away over 750 books to youth in the community.

Families around the community had great things to say. Such as Amber Leigh who attended the Christmas Gift Workshop: “My 5 yr old son absolutely loved this event! He was able to think of who he was gifting too when making the gift, and was so excited they were wrapped for him! And all of the volunteers were so nice and helpful too! Thank you so much for the wonderful memories ♥️” Carole Howe shared about their enjoyment of Creepy Crawlies stating “This event was amazing!  A lot of work went into this and we had so much fun. My 23 year old daughter said it was the best Friday night she has had in a long time”. Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is super excited about our upcoming community programs in 2024!

If you would like to help support Heckrodt’s vision by helping all people enjoy and learn from nature today and everyday donate now toward education.  You can also buy something from our Amazon Education Wishlist:
Heckrodt Education Wishlist

Have Questions?

Looking for information on our location and hours? Want to learn more about the habitats our reserve offers or seeking to find answers on the native and invasive species that may be in your neighborhood? Visit our frequently asked questions for these and other answers.

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve Community Partners

Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is a private non-profit organization. We depend on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations for our operations. Thank you to our generous community partners!

Community Partner in Habitat Protection & Enhancement

Community Partner in Wellness

Community Partner in Sustainability

Community Partner in Education