One of the Midwest's largest urban ecological centers opens in South Beloit

SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WIFR) -- What once was an under-used and under-appreciated piece of land is now a new environmental nature center. Nature at the Confluence is one of the Midwest's largest urban ecological centers.

"Three years ago we met out here in a field with a lot of broken glass around and a big tent and we said what can we do with this space? What do we want it to be? And here we are. This is what it is now, and it's really exciting to see it come to life with people,” said program coordinator, Therese Oldenburg.

Nature at the Confluence is an initiative of Beloit 2020, an organization that works to revitalize the city. They've worked the past three years to transform a dumping ground into a space that honors the nature and beauty that surrounds it.

"It was really a stewardship of the land and bringing this back as a place for people to come and enjoy. For South Beloit to come as a new, civic area for them,” said consultant for Beloit 2020, Joe Stadelman.

Nature at the Confluence hosted its 3rd annual “Meet me at the Confluence” open house where families could learn about nature and get their hands dirty. The center is planning several programs for members of all ages to get outside and explore the areas close to home.

"It’s really a work in progress. It's going to evolve, it's going to become really what the community wants, and we want them to have their input and to have the programs here that they want,” said Oldenburg.