Shaker Lakes Nature Center

The Shaker Lakes Nature Center Oral History Project was initiated by Nature Center founding member Nancy King Smith, with interviews by researchers, students, and public school teachers in collaboration with the Center. Interviews cover a variety of topics relating to the creation of Shaker Lakes and the Nature Center, as well as to the broader issues in wildlife preservation and environmental education. Although the Shaker Lakes were man-made (serving as a major part of the development of Shaker Heights), the park quickly became a favorite spot for amateur naturalists from throughout the area. In the 1960s, as the encroaching highway system threatened to destroy the Lakes, a grassroots movement sprang up in their defense, gaining the attention of the nascent environmental movement in the US. After successfully rolling back highway development through the Lakes, the activists used the momentum to form the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, with the mission of protecting the park lands in perpetuity and educating students and other citizens on environmental issues.


Jack Ullman of the Shaker Lakes Canoe Club discusses the origins and history of the Club, which dates back to the early years of 20th century but which ceased to exist by the end of the 1970s. Ullman recalls his early experiences at Shaker Lakes,…

Martha Eakin of the Shaker Lakes Nature Center describes her involvement over the years with Shaker Lakes and the Center. Martha's mother, Jean Eakin, was a major figure in the battle against highway development through the Shaker Lakes in the 1960s,…

Richard Horton, longtime Director of the Shaker Lakes Nature Center, talks about the history of the Center and describes in detail many of the educational programs, public events and fund-raising campaigns, staff development programs, and…

Norma Rodgers of Shaker Lakes Nature Center discusses her work at the Center. Major topics include the early history of the Nature Center, public and educational programming, organizational management and strategic planning, budgetary issues, and…

Edward J. Fritz of the Shaker Lakes Nature Center discusses his involvement with the Center beginning in the late 1970s. Fritz was involved with a number of maintenance and improvement projects at the Center, which he discusses in detail. Also…

Barbara Morgan of the Shaker Lakes Nature Center discusses the history of the Shaker Lakes; the history of Center; and the history of the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio. Morgan's involvement with the Shaker Lakes Nature Center was inspired…