By Jon King / jking@whmi.comn

One of the Howell Nature Center’s most popular "natural" attractions has attracted long-term support from a pair of anonymous donors.

The Howell Nature Center, located off of Triangle Lake Road in Marion Township, says the commitment for Alexandria's NatureScape and Treehouse complex will provide a five-year maintenance agreement, while also repairing and renovating the waterfall feature, described as a “summer favorite” for kids.

In addition, the donors say they are honored to contribute to the memory and legacy of Alexandria Bennett, a Brighton girl who passed away suddenly in 2005 when she was just 8 years old. Her parents created the Spirit of Alexandria Foundation, a Milford-based charity that encourages young people to connect with nature. The foundation helped to create the treehouse, which was designed by Alexandria’s grandfather.

According to a release, the Howell Nature Center says Alexandria's NatureScape provides a safe place for children to participate in "risky play,” which helps to teach young children risk-management skills in a natural way. As an example, the center says Alexandria's NatureScape has stumps and rocks for children to climb onto and jump off of with each child determining the height they are comfortable with. Alexandria's NatureScape is also full of "nature play" elements, composed of natural materials such as logs, boulders, water, or sticks, which encourage imagination and hopefully engage children longer than modern play elements like a swing.

Anyone with questions can call (517) 546-0249 or e-mail