Helmer Nature Center Facebook


The mission of HNC is to utilize the natural world as a classroom in order to provide practical, integrated learning opportunities, foster environmental awareness, and promote the concept of global stewardship for life-long learners.



The Helmer Nature Center, owned and operated by the West Irondequoit Central School District, has received a bequest from a community member that will allow us to reopen the center.

On Monday, November 17, the district received a check for $450,000 from the estate of Mrs. Elizabeth Merz. We anticipate that HNC will receive approximately $150,000 in additional funds when the estate is finalized. Mrs. Merz was born in Germany and lived in East Irondequoit with her husband Raymond, who predeceased her. She passed away on March 28, 2014 at the age of 91. We have learned that she enjoyed music and dancing and was fond of animals. She had visited the Pinegrove Community Center and learned of the Helmer Nature Center while attending programs at Pinegrove.

The Helmer Nature Center is both an outdoor classroom and an environmental resource for the entire community. It encompasses approximately 45 acres of land with trails. The diverse terrain is inhabited by a variety of wildlife, from the white-tailed deer to tiny field mice. The area abounds with many species of trees, shrubs, and wildflowers. Students from schools throughout Monroe County visit the center for curriculum based lessons in this unique educational setting. The center offers after school programs and evening and weekend events for adults as well as several family festivals each year.

Most programs were suspended for the 2014-15 school year as the district began to operate on a contingent budget after the proposed budget did not receive a super majority approval in May and June. Over the next several weeks, Mrs. Mazzola will make plans to re-establish programs. We anticipate that the center will be up and running in January.

What's coming up this week...