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Established in April 1999, the Ohio University Southern Nature Center is administered by Ohio University Southern in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service's Wayne National Forest located in Lawrence County Ohio. The OUS Nature Center campus consists of a classroom/laboratory/exhibit (CLE) building and an office/computer lab (OCL) building nestled in a natural wooded setting at the Lake Vesuvius Recreation Area within the Wayne National Forest. Seven miles north of the university campus, the center is in close proximity to hardwood forests, lakes, streams, meadows, native wildlife, and miles of trails are available for outdoor educational instruction.

The CLE building, constructed in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, is eligible for the national register of historical buildings. We have worked closely with the Ohio Historical Society to assure that interior modifications to support instructional needs are consistent with historical society requirements. The OCL building is a newer structure that used to be the Ranger’s residence. The buildings are about 300 feet apart.

By providing instruction for learning in an outdoor setting, the OUS Nature Center benefits OUS students, pre-service and in-service teachers, area K-12 students, as well as community organizations and the general public. Pre-service teachers gain valuable, hands-on experience in developing and directing outdoor education activities. Teacher enhancement workshops offer area K-12 teachers new curriculum ideas and approaches in using outdoor resources to make learning meaningful and fun. Visitors to the Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only national forest, have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the fascinating cultural and historical significance of Southern Ohio.

By combining the expertise of OUS faculty and local residents with that of the Wayne National Forest professionals, trained in forestry, botany, biology, archaeology, geology, to name a few, the OUS Nature Center provides the Tri-State Region with learning opportunities never before available.

Nature Center Classroom
Classroom / Laboratory / Exhibit
Nature Center Lab
Office / Computer Lab

Contact Us
Nature Center Phone: 740.532.4600
Address: Ohio University Southern
OUS Nature Center
1804 Liberty Avenue
Ironton, OH 45638
Director Phone: 740.533.4563

Our Mission
Operate the inter disciplinary outdoor learning facility to enhance:

  • knowledge of an individual's impact on the environment and the environment's impact on them.
  • knowledge and opportunity in the fields of science and mathematics.
  • the social, economic, and cultural awareness levels of the participants.

Most of all make it fun to learn!