About Us

Donate ButtonRusk Ranch Nature Center is a nonprofit organization in Cave Junction, Oregon with a mission to promote the wellbeing of the residents of our community and conserve nature.

At Rusk Ranch Nature Center we value the healing power of nature and natures ability to nurture creativity, to inspire a sense of belonging and to build community by showing us our deep inter-connectedness. 
We value the long term wholeness of recognizing that people and nature are inseparable.  We strive to nurture whole families, multi-age groups and children.

In 2007 the organization received a generous donation of 50 acres of rural property in the beautiful Illinois Valley of Southern Oregon.

There are large meadows, forests of pine, fir and cedar, as well as high country hardwoods.  The West Fork of the Illinois River offers access to lower channeled areas rich with unique flora and fauna communities growing in an area of constant disturbance.

RRNC has a phased strategic plan that includes the creation of  a Butterfly Pavilion featuring native butterflies, interpretive trails, restoration of wetlands, youth partnership programs, an interactive Nature Discovery Center with hands-on nature-based exhibits,  and a community & event center.

Rusk Ranch Nature Center goals include:

    • Offer an interactive learning environment that features the unique flora and fauna of our area
    • Create children’s programs that offer regular field trips and learning experiences.
    • Become a destination venue to compliment other visitor sites in the area, thus enhancing the valley for visitors

Kids on Trails

Mission Statement:

The Mission of the Rusk Ranch Nature Center is to benefit the community, with enrichment, jobs, housing, and opportunities for the public, particularly young people, to appreciate the natural world and instill a sense of stewardship toward the earth and its inhabitants, and preserve and conserve nature and wildlife.

Rusk Ranch Nature Center is an inspiring place for interactive nature programs & exhibits and outdoor recreational activities, enhancing quality of life and fostering community pride.

Rusk Ranch Nature Center awakens children of all ages to the adventure, discovery and awe of our natural world.  The center supports the mutually beneficial relationship between the human community and nature, restoring wetlands, creating habitat for wildlife, and providing protected areas for endangered species.  

Board of Directors

Kaci Elder, President,

Chad Free, Secretary, Children’s Programs Advisor

Susan Taylor, Treasurer

Patricia Downing, Board Member, Executive Director

Divonna Ratliff, Board Member, Exhibits Advisor

Erica Clark, Board Member, Operations Coordinator

Carol Nye, Board Member, Nature Service Volunteer

Diana Hailey, Board Member, Exhibits Volunteer

Leaving a Legacy for Illinois Valley:  As we plan this vision for the future to create a beautiful world class Nature Discovery Center for our community, consider the possibility of leaving a legacy gift to benefit our community.  Talk with your attorney or estate planner to make a charitable donation that will help connect children and adults to nature for generations to come.

Email the Executive Director: email for ruskranchnaturecenter.org

Rusk Ranch Nature Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical circumstances, age, status as a veteran, or national origin.