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The Institute announces name change to Buttonwood Nature Center

The Institute announces name change to Buttonwood Nature Center

WAYNESBORO—A groundbreaking ceremony on April 4 marked the beginning of construction of a new bridge—and the announcement of a new name—for The Institute, on their 40-acre property in Washington Township, Pa.

The property and the organization are now called Buttonwood Nature Center, Home of the Institute. 

“In choosing our new name, we let the landscape guide our decision,” said Tracy Holliday, executive director. “Buttonwood is the folk name for the American Sycamore tree, and more than 40 of them grace our beautiful property.”

The buttonwood’s distinctive leaf and seed pod are featured on the organization’s new logo, created by local graphic designer, Lesley Quesada. 

“In addition, with a goal of remaining visible and recognizable to an appreciative community that knows us as ‘The Institute,’ we have let that stand for now,” Holliday said. The Institute was based at Renfrew Museum and Park for 30 years, and left that property in 2020.

Kinsley Construction of York, Pa. will begin work on the single-span bridge over Red Run Stream on April 8; the bridge is expected to be completed in the fall.

“This bridge will literally pave the way for visitation by school students and community members from throughout the region,” Holliday said. “It also opens the door to additional infrastructure improvements that are needed to realize our vision for Buttonwood Nature Center. We’ve described it as a linchpin project and are delighted to be moving forward.”

“Bridges are also symbolic for our work and mission—bridges build connections. At Buttonwood, our bridge will not only connect us to our neighbors, but it will also help us connect people to their natural and cultural worlds, and to one another in ways that educate and delight and inspire stewardship.”

“We are so grateful for the Nora Roberts Foundation, whose cornerstone gift of $500,000 helped us purchase this exceptional property,” Holliday said. “Since then, our capital campaign for Ensuring the Future, now totaling nearly $3 million in gifts and pledges, is evidence that our supportive community is eager to see Buttonwood Nature Center come to life!”

Since 1990, The Institute has engaged learners of all ages. School programs for students provide opportunities to learn about our cultural and natural heritage. In addition, workshops, talks and field trips for adults and teens cover a wide variety of interests. And the organization hosts several family-friendly festivals and events throughout the year.  

Buttonwood programs and events are taking place at satellite sites in the region pending completion of the bridge and infrastructure development.

In the interim, the property is open by special arrangement. For more information about Buttonwood Nature Center, visit

A ceremonial groundbreaking on April 4 launched construction of a new bridge on the property of Buttonwood Nature Center, Home of The Institute. Left to right: Logan Swartz of C.S. Davidson engineering firm; Bill Hofmann, Institute facilities committee chair and board member; Tracy Holliday, executive director of The Institute; Jim Fleagle, president of The Institute board of directors; and Dakota Gearhart, Chris Kotchish and Edgar Aguilar of Kinsley Construction. Photo by Nancy Mace.

Additional Info

Media Contact : Jessica Watson, (717) 762-0373 or Andrea Struble,

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