About Us

Nature Center, Environmental Education Center, and Biological Field Station

Pierce Cedar Creek Institute is a nature center, environmental education center, and biological field station located on 850 acres with nine miles of hiking trails ten miles south of Hastings, Michigan. The Institute’s mission is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of our environment. Visitors will experience the beauty of a very diverse property including wetlands, forests, marshes, streams, lakes, and prairies. The hiking trails are open every day dawn to dusk with experiences such as the storywalk book on the Black Walnut Trail, the Play Space for children, as well as the deck which extends from the Visitor Center south side parking lot around the back of the building. There are many opportunities to relax, meet with family and friends, and enjoy being in the beauty of nature.

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 have back to Hastings, Barry County, and West Michigan. The Pierces passed away in 1998 but prior to their deaths, the idea of building an environmental education center was conceived while visitng a friends' home and enjoying the natural beauty of Barry County.


Geologically, the landscape at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute was fashioned by the melting of glaciers of the Saginaw Lobe. parts of the property lie in a glacial tunnel valley, and 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.