Our History

History of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute

In 1988, Bill and Jessie Pierce formed The Willard G. Pierce and Jessie M. Pierce Foundation as a way to give back to Hastings, Barry County, and West Michigan. The Pierces passed away in 1998, but just prior to their deaths, the idea of building an environmental education center was conceived while visiting a friends' home and enjoying the natural beauty of Barry County.



Geologically, the landscape at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute was fashioned by the melting or retreat of the Saginaw Lobe. Parts of the property lie in a glacial tunnel valley, an area where large volumes of melt water flowed underneath the glacier. Cedar Creek, Brewster Lake and the esker that runs north to south on the property all lie within the valley. Virtually the entire watershed of Brewster Lake, one of the most pristine lakes in southwest Michigan and notable for its lack of both non-native aquatic plants and fish species, lies within Pierce Cedar Creek Institute.