About Us

Rusk 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, youth sports fields, 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 and to provide 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
John Gardiner, President

Kimberlie Lehman, Vice-President, Secretary

Jeannette Rogers, Treasurer

Terry Davis, Board Member

Jan Walker, Board Member

Divonna Ratliff, Board Member

Nancy Alex, Board Member

Patricia Downing,  Executive Director

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: info@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.


    THANK YOU! for donating, sharing and emailing the link to our site! With deep gratitude,
    The Board and Volunteers of Rusk Ranch Nature Center.
    At the center "Our policies and practices provide equal opportunity to all qualified individuals in leadership, staffing and service, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion and any status protected by law."
    Butterfly Pavilion and center are currently CLOSED for the 2018 season. We re-open Memorial weekend 2019.
    Thanks so much to all the lovely nature lovers who dropped by in 2017 and 2018 !!!
    The Butterfly Pavilion, Hummingbird Garden & Natural Playground are usually open during the summer May to late Oct, 10am to 4pm Tuesday through Sunday (UNLESS ITS RAINING! - Butterflies don't fly in the rain.). School groups can make appointments to visit - no charge for school group children with over 10 students. The Natural Playground is a blast!
    SUN School offers outdoor summer school for kids in our valley to prevent summer learning loss. There is no summer school option for elementary kids in our valley.

    Kids from more affluent areas that have summer enrichment for kids, do not fall behind over summer. Contribute today to support SUN School at the Nature Center!

    Give children in our community opportunities to explore nature, experience outdoor fun and do hands-on learning. Jump in and help us make it happen!

    CLICK on a donate button and make it happen!

    BUTTERFLY FLYWAY PROJECT: Get native milkweed starts for your garden at your non-sprayed location. Order now in bulk for Spring 2018. Milkweed is disappearing all over the west coast due to spraying and removal – but Monarch Butterflies cannot exist without it! So their numbers are down dramatically also. Help us feed the wild Monarch caterpillars and support this amazing native species.

    GET INVOLVED! Help make kids nature programs available and build the new Oregon Nature & Environmental Discovery Center (O.N.E. Discovery) IF YOU ALREADY DONATED - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!! Or click on the Volunteers button in the menu or read the section on volunteering in the Rusk Ranch Nature Center News – if you have a skill to share just let us know. : )

    At Rusk Ranch Nature Center we give children opportunities to explore nature, experience outdoor fun and do hands-on learning. Jump in and help us make it happen!
    -- Click the DONATE button & Contribute today to support summer outdoor SUN School, to show how all nature is inter-connected and inter-dependent. YES WE CAN take checks: POB 872, Cave Junction, OR 97523 ~ AND Pledges- send pledge info by email: info@ruskranchnaturecenter.org : )

  • Rusk Ranch Nature Center Location

    Rusk Ranch Nature Center
    27746 Redwood Hwy
    Cave Junction, OR 97523

    Mailing address: RRNC, POBox 872, Cave Junction, OR 97523

    Email: info@ruskranchnaturecenter.org

    Phone: 541-287-2164

    Check us out on Facebook!

  • Events

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