During the Johnson Nature Center’s craft series in March, kids made fairy and gnome homes out of natural materials.

During the Johnson Nature Center’s craft series in March, kids made fairy and gnome homes out of natural materials.

Photo provided by the Johnson Nature Center

Volunteer and build fairy homes at Johnson Nature Center

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 15, 2024


BLOOMFIELD HILLS/TOWNSHIP — A new event will bring unique vendors, food trucks, face painting and more to the Johnson Nature Center April 21.

The Whimsical Woodland Festival will take place at the center, 3325 Franklin Road in Bloomfield Township, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

In the morning, there will be opportunities for volunteers to help the Johnson Nature Center clean up trash, remove non-native invasive species and plant the gardens.

Volunteers also have the opportunity to build a fairy or gnome home out of natural materials. Builders are encouraged to use their creativity to make whimsical homes that will line the trails.

Johnson Nature Center has a craft series every month, and March’s theme was making fairy and gnome homes.

“Seeing the creativity from all the kids that came in and created, it was just so fun and so magical to see how they use all the different natural materials. They use them in ways that I never even would have thought of,” instructional guide and naturalist Cathy Wesley said.

Anyone interested in building a fairy house or gnome home for the  festival can visit the builder’s page at johnsonnaturecen ter.org/whimsicalwoodlandsbuild.


Fundraising efforts
There is a suggested donation of $5 per person for the event. Proceeds of the Whimsical Woodland Festival will support the center’s outdoor classroom.

The outdoor classroom at the Johnson Nature Center was created when they began the Tree School program in February 2023. They currently have a temporary outdoor classroom, made with a snow fence and other materials they have on-site. Their plan is to create a permanent outdoor classroom with permanent fencing and a shelter.

“We’re going to do some design work to make it so it’s ultimately the best learning space for those kids outside,” Early Childhood Leader Leigh Rowe said.

This outdoor classroom will also be used for summer camp and other community programs.

Their goal is to raise $50,000 to cover the cost of the build. An anonymous donor offered a $10,000 match from January of this year, through the end of May. They also received a $10,000 donation from the Jerry Cohen Foundation to go towards the classroom.

Rowe said that this project is something that they are getting started on right away, not something for far into the future. They have already started clearing out the space and are getting ready for the next step.

“We’re starting this process now, which is really great, because people can kind of see and get excited about the process already happening,” Rowe said.

More information on the event can be found at johnsonnaturecenter.org/whimsicalwoodlands.