Chrishaven Lake is located within the 135 acres that make up Howard Christensen Nature Center. This view is from the north dock which looks across to the site of the Christensen homestead. This is a kettle hole lake formed by retreating glaciers. It is run off fed, not spring fed. The water is black due to tannic acid from the oak and hemlock trees that surround the lake. There are few fish due to low oxygen levels but giant snapping turtles call it home. Deer, bear, and other wildlife are often spotted around the lake. Kettle hole lakes tend to fill with sediment over time and, with the acidic conditions, it could become a bog. Chronolog allows us to witness that possible transformation.
Howard Christensen Nature Center is operated by Lily's Frog Pad, Inc., a nonprofit organization. The 135 acres were donated by the Christensen family to Kent Intermediate School District in memory of their son, Howard, who died in 1961 at the age of 17. KISD developed the nature center in 1974 and ran programs there until 2011. A group of local volunteers formed the nonprofit and assumed responsibility for the ongoing operation. We have 12 miles of groomed trails through habitats that include deciduous and coniferous forests as well as various wetlands. Our Interpretive Center houses life-size dioramas depicting the habitats, an extensive bird collection, insect corridor and mammal fur touch room. We host school field trips, events and day camps throughout the year. Camp Lily's, our retreat center, is located on the northern edge of the property and is a private setting for scout campouts, weddings and other gatherings.