From our humble beginnings in 1971, the Wheeler-Thanhauser Orchid Species Collection at Ball State University has become a destination for orchids, conservation, and nature education. The facility contains the largest collegiate collection of orchid species in the United States, and focuses on orchid conservation, nature education and research. With the addition of the new Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse in 2014, the collection has become an ever-growing location for visitors, including students, faculty, local and regional visitors. Over 6500 visitors enjoy the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse and its nature education programs annually!
Located in Christy Woods, the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse is part of the BSU Field Station and Environmental Education Center. Plans for creating an Environmental Education Center attached to the greenhouse are underway now, with the goal for a lab/classroom space for children’s programs, community programs, and nature education for Muncie’s K-12 students, and community members in the entire region, tying together opportunities for nature education at Christy Woods and other BSU Field Station properties, environmental outreach, and community programming. The Environmental Education Center will bring quality of place to Muncie, be a regional destination and offer programs for our community. It is our big project for the future!