A unique component of Walnut Creek Preserve is the Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center located at the southwest corner of the Preserve. The 1,530 acre protected forest surrounding the Nature Center and Walnut Creek is a natural outdoor classroom for learning about our native Southern Appalachian plants and animals. The Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center is open to home owners and their guests at no cost. It is also open by invitation at scheduled times for nature programs offered by Walnut Creek Preserve in a partnership with The Pacolet Area Conservancy, with a goal to further an appreciation by young and old of the importance of the forest in our daily lives.
The Anne Elizabeth Suratt Nature Center was endowed and is managed by Walnut Creek Preserve. Additional plantings of native species are intended to supplement the hundreds of species that already flourish in Walnut Creek Preserve. Signage and educational displays enhance the visitor's experience. Homeowners have opportunities to volunteer in teaching about the forest and its gifts, both to children and to adults.
The Nature Center is named for Babs and Bob's daughter, Anne Elizabeth Suratt, who was killed in a private plane crash in 1997 during her fourth year at the University of Illinois. Anne hoped to be an astronaut and she was developing skills in reading land masses from space. She always had a passion for hiking and enjoying the outdoors as well as space exploration. During her college years Anne spent countless hours as a volunteer in the local schools of Champaign, Illinois, teaching children about the complexity of the earth's environment, as seen through photographs taken in space.