Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest


Mission Statement

Mission: Connecting people with nature


Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest’s mission, Connecting People with Nature, was the inspiration that compelled Isaac W. Bernheim to purchase over 12,500 acres of eroded and heavily logged land in Bullitt and Nelson Counties in Kentucky in 1929. Mr. Bernheim established the I.W. Bernheim Foundation in 1929, to ensure the long-term protection and management of his living legacy. Bernheim’s gift of land became a place where all people could find peace, understanding, and common interest in nature, regardless of race, creed or economic status. Today, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest encompasses 16,137 acres and is the largest privately held forest in the eastern United States dedicated to environmental education and conservation.
Hosting over 500,000 visitors and providing nature-based education to over 12,000 students and families annually, every generation can participate in life-long learning experiences at Bernheim. Visitors can explore our scenic woodlands crossed by 45 miles of hiking trails; attends an award-winning nature-based education program; volunteers with Horticulture in Bernheim's 600-acre arboretum; meets an artist creating "Art in Nature" as part of Bernheim's thirty-nine year Artist in Residency Program; participates in a "Free Play Day" hosted by Bernheim's Children at Play Network; enjoys a meal harvested from Bernheim's Edible Garden and prepared at Isaac's Cafe; and through Bernheim's ecological stewardship, scientific research, and conservation.
Bernheim’s vision is to become “a nationally treasured leader in ecological stewardship that inspires the exploration of our deep connections with nature.” Framed by this vision, Bernheim Forest initiatives strategically address how we approach our work, whether conservation, horticulture, education, play, art or outdoor recreation, through four Big Ideas –
o EXPLORING DEEP CONNECTIONS WITH NATURE Bernheim is well positioned to provide people with opportunities and environments that encourage deep personal interactions with nature over time.
o LEADERSHIP IN ECOLOGICAL STEWARDSHIP Bernheim will continuously learn from nature, form innovative relationships with individuals, organizations, and corporations, and be a leader in ecologically focused planning.
o ACTIONS BEYOND OUR BORDERS Bernheim’s future will be built on relationships, context and connectedness. At Bernheim, we believe connecting with nature is important for the health and well-being of our community, and that can happen far beyond the boundaries of our forest. That’s why we are dedicated to working with others on relevant and beneficial projects to help our community and the surrounding communities connect with nature.
GREEN ROOFS Did you know that Bernheim designs, installs and maintains green roofs? From the University of Louisville’s Nucleus Building (Headquarters of Atria Senior Living) to the top of the American Life Building on the Louisville Belvedere, Bernheim brings nature to the rooftops of the urban landscape. Living roofs help reduce pollution and provide habitat for birds and butterflies. They incorporate climate-friendly features, including the reduction of radiant and reflected heat; plants that help to clean rain water and city air. Additionally, living roofs act as additional insulation, reducing utility costs in both the summer and winter. Bernheim believes every roof should be a living resource..
oTHOUGHT LEADERSHIP Bernheim will actively support ongoing communication among people with a passion for improving how communities and individuals coexist with nature in a healthy ecology.

Program Details

EDUCATION Bernheim’s nature-based education programs seek to grow and nurture an understanding of the natural world for all. From our Lunch and Learn program series to our popular Bernheim at Night programs, adults have many ways to increase both their knowledge and appreciation of nature. Bernheim’s children’s programs cultivate the next generation of environmental leaders and scientists. From Discovery Days and Pollywog Play Parties to class field trips with Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) focused curriculum to the creativity and imagination that free play provides, Bernheim inspires thousands of children to explore the outside world.
ART One of the best ways to explore and connect with nature is through art. Bernheim’s internationally recognized Arts in Nature program offers opportunities, exploration, and inspiration across a variety of mediums to all artists, from a novice to the most accomplished. With nature as their guide, artists examine the natural world and share their discoveries with more than 500,00 visitors a year.
CHILDREN AT PLAY NETWORK Bernheim believes that children’s play experiences in nature form connections, interests, and passions that nurture future generations of environmental stewards. Play encourages creativity, cooperation, problem solving and a solid foundation for learning. We believe, and research confirms, that free play in nature results in healthier, happier, and more resilient children. That’s why Bernheim created the Children at Play Network. The Children at Play Network facilitates the creation of amazing outdoor play environments that connect children with nature for life.
SONICBERNHEIM SONICBernheim is a crescendo of lectures, concerts, and art exploration. Visitors gather on a full moon night to explore the complex and unique relationships between sound, music, and nature. The site-specific lecture and experimental sound performance series provides a great opportunity to connect with a highly engaged audience of people who actively seek out unique cultural arts events
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P.O.Box 130
Clermont, KY 40110
United States
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