Nestled at the base of Palouse hills, and just inside the city limits of Moscow, Idaho sits the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute Nature Center.
The PCEI Nature Center and the home base for PCEI, is a 26.2-acre haven complete with a mile-long trail looping through the center, up a ridgeline, and down to an orchard. Fingering out from the main trail is a smattering of smaller trails that lead to wetlands, a bicycle pump track, an artist’s studio, and many spectacular views of Moscow and the Palouse region.
The heart of the PCEI Nature Center is the Nancy Taylor Pavilion, a covered area that allows for events and classes; the Waxwing, an education and restoration building; the Perrine House, a 1940s-era mail order cabin that serves as the main office for PCEI. We proudly feature a state-of-the-art, two-room solar powered, rasta block-constructed composting toilet named The Jim LaFortune Memorial Groover.
PCEI has multiple examples of sustainable living: a sustaining parking lot, a straw bale covered bike shelter, 26 solar panels used to power the facilities as much as possible, rainwater collection, and three buildings feature a living roof.
The PCEI education extends outside our property. We are in area classrooms teaching lessons about the environment, field trips that allow students to visit and learn about locations throughout the Palouse. We are constantly looking for ways to provide hands-on learning in and out of the classroom.
PCEI is fortunate to also have the Rose Creek Nature Preserve, which is just outside of Pullman, a scant 14 miles from the PCEI Nature Center in Moscow. The Nature Conservancy of Washington previously managed Rose Creek, but the title of land was transferred to in 2008.
In 2011 and 2014 PCEI received a generous donation of land from Fred Hudson, the son of George and Bess Hudson, who made the original 12-acre donation to the Nature Conservancy. To honor that generosity and to highlight the work of the Hudsons and The Nature Conservancy, the 22-acre Rose Creek Nature Preserve is also home to the newly developed Bess Hudson Interpretive Center. It is located in the same house George and Bess Hudson lived in while at Rose Creek.
The PCEI Nature Center is open to the public. Without memberships, donations, and grants, we would not be able to provide the programming, projects, and events that people of the Palouse have come to rely on. PCEI’s impact on the Palouse and Pacific Northwest may not be immediately seen, but its efforts in restoration work have been successful. PCEI is a gem, one we are happy to share with Idaho.
You can find the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Image 1: A group of volunteers participating in the 2016 Pullman Stream Cleanup
Image 2: Kyle O’Keefe, a PCEI AmeriCorps member teaching a group of students under the Nancy Taylor Pavilion at the PCEI Nature Center
Image 3: A group of children working during the 2016 Watershed Festival at the PCEI Nature Center
Image 4: A section of the Rose Creek Nature Preserve
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