The Madison County Conservation visitor experience begins before the visitor lays eyes on the center. According to the architectural plans for the center, visitors will park their vehicles a distance away from the center itself, allowing them to leave behind their modern life as they transition into nature. To compliment this sentiment, the trail could double as a visualization of Earth’s geological time scale. Trail waysides on the long walk mark prehistoric geological and biological events—to scale by millennia. By the time the visitor reaches the center and the marker for “Human Era,” it’s easy to see how relatively short humankind’s time on Earth has been.

Entering the lobby, a large wall graphic will continue the timeline experience outside by zooming into the “Human Era” of Madison County and Pammel Park. The timeline focuses on the past and present of human history as it relates to land, ecosystem, and natural resources. The Human Era timeline would sit across the lobby from the donor recognition wall, allowing donors to see themselves as part of the ongoing history and legacy of Madison County Conservation. This feature would allow after-hour visitors to learn and experience the center’s exhibit hall without having access to the exhibits themselves.

Lessons to include:

  • Geologic timeline including key periods and relevant descriptions, including rise of local habitats and animals.
  • Human events including appearance of first humans in the area; habitation by various Native peoples; appearance of European trappers and settlers; land and resource use in the country; Pammel’s conservation journey; habitat loss and restoration; founding of Madison County Conservation.

This outdoor trail will lead visitors from he parking lot to the nature center, discovering pre-historic geological and biological events as they enter.