Kathie Butler, owner of the Nature Center at Butler Corner, plans to open a visitors center and weaving shop to make her property more guest-friendly.
Butler has operated the Nature Center on her family ranch since 2016, when she retired from a career in teaching and library work. Her property contains about 6 miles of nature trails that are open to the public, and she said she gets weekly visits from families and children on field trips. On June 9, she plans to unveil a visitors center and library, as well as a studio for weaving classes and wool sales.
The visitors center is a converted barn with indoor paneling made from beetle-kill wood. Half of it is taken up by a meeting room, which Butler plans to rent out when she’s not using it for events. That part of the building saw some use on May 12 when families visited it as part of a Ute Mountain-Mesa Verde Birding Festival tour.
But the part of the building Butler is most excited to reveal is the other half – a lending library about nature for all ages. Most of the books are from Butler’s collection.
“I’ve been a teacher and a children’s librarian, so this is my dream come true,” she said.
She already teaches weaving classes on a regular basis, often using wool from her alpacas. The weaving studio will allow her to take on more students, she said, as well as collect some money by selling wool and weaving equipment.
The grand opening will start at 9 a.m. on June 9 and run all day. Visitors will be able to tour the buildings and the hiking trails, and T-shirts and yearly memberships will be available for purchase.
Butler is looking for volunteers to help man the new buildings. She said she doesn’t know what the welcome center’s operating hours will depend on staff availability. Currently, visits to the Nature Center must be scheduled in advance by contacting Butler.