Junior ExplorerEstablished in 2003, the Nature Center is a tax-exempt, nonprofit educational organization.  Our site is on 10 acres in Lakeside, next to the Big Springs Environmental Study Area, with 5 acres leased from the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside on its Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex.

We started WMNC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in 2005 and purchased the land for the Nature Center in 2007. After years of planning and tremendous community support, the Nature Center complex is scheduled to be fully functional as soon as 2012. We are excited about the continuing development, and we are certain that the communities we serve will be, too!

We are a valuable resource for sponsors and donors to exhibit goodwill and concern about the future of our natural resources.

Our community service goals include the following:

  • Integrate our work and the work of supporting organizations to educate our visitors and encourage responsible action to better steward the natural resources in which we all share and care about.
  • Be an economic benefit to communities we serve by providing additional revenues from areas outside of the White Mountains.
  • Commit to and advocate sustainable multiple use of our lands and resources.
  • Serve the White Mountains as a wildlife rehabilitation center.


To connect people with wildlife through educational experiences inspiring appreciation, responsibility, and respect for the inter-relationships among humans, other living organisms, and the natural world we share.


To become the “one-stop shop” for all things environmental in the White Mountains region, working with our partners to educate visitors and encourage responsible action to better live with the natural resources we all share and care about.


Our goals are as follows:

  • Offer education and recreational activities to foster appreciation of nature.
  • Promote stewardship of our natural resources.
  • Be a clearinghouse for all things nature, environmental, and wildlife-related.
  • Promote sustainable living, “green” building, and FIREWISE and healthy forest principles.
  • Diversify and promote a healthy local economy.
  • Be a place where people have FUN learning about and discovering nature!

Will also work with partners and consulting groups to fulfill our objectives in the development and ongoing improvement of the Nature Center. For more information, see The Power of Partnerships.

Management Team

Our management team has a great deal of experience in conserving and researching our earth’s natural resources. Our management team’s extensive experience ranges from managing wildlife in the Arizona Game and Fish Department to serving in the White Mountain Audubon Society.

Diana Butler President
Gil Alvidrez Vice President, Educational Programs Director
Linet Ingels Secretary
John Jarchow Treasurer
Norris Dodd Public Programs/Grant Director
Judi Bassett Public Relations Director, Annual Benefit Director Co-Chair
Kathy Dahnk Board Member
Lynn Krigbaum Outreach Director, Annual Benefit Director Co-Chair
Jim Snitzer Site Improvements Director
Jeff Wolf Volunteer Director, Wildlife Rehabilitation Director
Mary Ellen Bittorf Past President