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Big Ideas

Bernheim’s strategic plan for fulfilling the vision that “Bernheim will be a nationally treasured leader in ecological stewardship that inspires the exploration of our deep connections with nature.” will focus on four Big Ideas:





These Big Ideas focus the revitalization of existing efforts and add bold initiatives in education, interpretation, conservation and outreach. Bernheim will continuously earn its leadership role in ecological stewardship through practice, cooperation and partnerships, as well as by incorporating science nature-based design. Unique programs and experiences, such as the Bernheim Center for Ecology, Arts, Leadership and Regenerative Design will bring thinkers together supporting thought leadership. Cooperative efforts with universities worldwide will help Bernheim become a premiere ecological research site in the Eastern United States. Bernheim will ignite imaginations, encourage outdoor activity and promote healthy lifestyles through efforts such as The Edible Garden and The Children’s Play Garden. Visual and performing arts will act as creative interpretive tools that surprise and connect even more people to nature. Every generation will participate in life-long learning opportunities supporting a deep appreciation of nature.

This plan departs from past plans in how Bernheim perceives its relationship with the larger ecological region. Bernheim will work to establish the Greater Bernheim Ecological District. Through cooperation with our neighbors in land management practices, conservation easements and other strategies, large habitat blocks and wildlife corridors will be created and protected. This new ecological perspective provides reason, relevance and opportunity for increased local, regional and national outreach by Bernheim.

The Bernheim strategic plan outlines major steps toward the fulfillment of each Big Idea while embracing the inevitable process of change that guides and informs all natural systems. It ensures that Bernheim practices effective fiscal, personnel and resource management. It calls for expansion of the endowment. It allows for flexibility, responsiveness and innovation in future Bernheim activities.

Most importantly, this plan provides fun and powerful opportunities for connecting people with nature and for advancing the founding vision initiated by Isaac Wolfe Bernheim.