Donate to our Annual Campaign



Little houses have become trendy these days. Did you know that we have our very own little house here at the Ney Nature Center? It’s not unusual for our center visitors to inquire about this quaint “little house” that is perched on the west side of Nature Center Lane and teetering on the bluff overlooking the Minnesota River. This two-room home with less than 200 square feet of floor space had no running water or plumbing, but originally served as a hired hand’s house for the Ney family.

Hired Hand’s House

It was built during the summer of 1940 and its first residents were Hugo and Eva Strike and, later their infant son, “Bucky” (Hugo Jr.). This was depression-time and the Strikes were desperate for work having answered an ad in The Farmer Magazine – “Help Wanted – married couple, house furnished.” On June 15, 1940 the Strikes were married and on Monday, the 17th, Hugo was making hay for Gil Ney. Eva joined Hugo a month later. For the next year and a half the work became routine – for Hugo, it was milking cows, feeding animals, picking corn, working fields; for Eva, it was helping with household chores, tending the garden, doing laundry, cooking and preserving foods.

In conjunction with the Ney Nature Center’s Strategic Plan and Master Plan, work has begun restoring our little 75-year old house. Much of it will need to be reconstructed. The role this building will have within the programming at the Ney Nature Center is significant. It had a unique purpose and now can serve to educate people about a time and way of life that is remembered only in history books and memories of people like Hugo and Eva Strike and several other hired hands, each with their own set of stories to tell.

The Ney’s “Little House” is reminiscent of naturalist Henry David Thoreau’s cabin built amidst woodland at Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts over 170 years ago. In 1861 during an excursion on the Minnesota River, Thoreau and his party stopped at Henderson on their way to the Lower Sioux Agency at Redwood Falls. The “Big Woods,” originally a 2000-square mile unique forest habitat, was of special interest to the botanizing Thoreau as a contrast with America’s prairie land. Part of the “Big Woods” was on Ney property and still includes a fragment of Thoreau’s “Big Woods,” most of which has been lost to development over the decades since Thoreau was here in 1861.

Our goal of raising $10,000 to restore this important historical building can only be achieved with generous donations from our members and friends. Can we count on your support of the Ney Nature Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, with a donation to our ANNUAL END-OF-THE-YEAR CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE OUR “LITTLE HOUSE”?

Thank you in advance for your generosity. Online donations can be made through our online Square Store by clicking here.
An Annual Campaign Donation Form can be downloaded and mailed with your donation to the Ney Nature Center, PO Box 93, Henderson MN 56044 or dropped off at our office Monday – Friday 9am to 4pm. Your donation will be recognized in our newsletter and annual report. Feel free to honor or memorialize a special person in your life by filling out the Annual Campaign form.

Ney Nature Center Tribute Giving

The Nature Center accepts monetary donations in any amount to honor or memorialize an individual. Both the recipient and donor will be acknowledged. We will notify your special person or that person’s family with a card or letter informing them of your tribute gift. Donations of $500 or more will be recognized on a plaque located within the Ney Nature Center’s Education Building.

Commemorative Pollinator Garden: Donations to honor or memorialize an individual given to the Commemorative Pollinator Garden will be used to purchase native plants specific to butterflies, bees and other insects that rely on such plants to survive, build and maintain the pollinator garden and provide continued support to the programming used to educate about pollinators.

Ney Nature Center’s Wish List: Purchasing or making a monetary donation towards equipment and teaching tools listed on the Ney Nature Center’s Wish List is a great way to honor or memorialize a loved one.

To honor that special someone now, use our donation form. For more information regarding the Tribute Gift Program, please contact Becky Pollack at 507-357-8580.

Teaching About Pollination

Our Wish List

  • 5 Gallon Buckets with Lids
  • Bird Suet
  • Black-oil Sunflower Seeds
  • Butter Churn
  • Chainsaw
  • Classical X-C Ski Equipment (wax-less only)
  • Electric Golf Cart
  • Laundry Washboard
  • Log chain (light duty)
  • Loppers
  • Lumber (in like-new condition)
  • School Supplies: pencils, glue sticks, yarn, markers, staplers, tape, plain pocket folders, etc.
  • Waders
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Cash donations to purchase any of the above

CLICK HERE to make a donation through our online store