Our Mission

To promote the understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the Nisqually Estuary through education, interpretation, and citizen science.

Who are We?

NRNC was established in 1982 as an extension of the Black Hills Audubon Society, and in 1986 it became an independent nonprofit entity. NRNC has a proud history of reaching thousands of community members in the South Sound each year with our messages of environmental stewardship and conservation. Through the years, our emphasis has expanded from general public outreach to our current focus on providing supplemental classroom, laboratory, and field trip opportunities for schools in Thurston and Pierce counties and beyond. In a typical year, around 3,000 school-age kids visit the Nature Center with their teachers and parents.

Where is NRNC located?

We are located in northeast Olympia at Luhr Beach, on the west side of the Nisqually estuary. Through a cooperative agreement with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, which operates the adjacent public boat launch, NRNC occupies a building on the site of a historic fishing and hunting camp established by Bill Luhr, Sr.

Our location is ideal for illustrating the beauty and value of a pristine estuary: with Mt. Rainier in the background, McAllister Creek flows into Puget Sound in front of the Center and the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge lies a short distance across the water. In addition to providing access to fishing and crabbing in Puget Sound waters, the area is popular with duck hunters in the winter, and year-round bird watchers and recreational boaters.