JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s a 300-acre oasis tucked away in southern Jackson.

“This is such a beautiful place. A true gem in Jackson County,” said Ben Dandroe. the Executive Director of the Dahlem Conservancy.

Dandrow is dedicating his life to leading and protecting the Dahlem Center.

For him, it’s an opportunity to allow this land to be enjoyed by the community.

“One thing that medical science, doctors, physicians, psychiatrists, all agree on is the benefit of being outdoors, getting outdoors, unwind, de-stress and just take in nature,” said Dandrow. “The center originally opened in the early 1970s with a goal to also educate future generations on the importance of protecting our environment.”

People like Carrie Benham who have been here for more than two decades say is what this place is all about.

“We need to teach everybody and it really starts out with the young ages to get them connected. If they don’t care about the environment. We are going to lose it,” said Educator, and Camp Director, Carrie Benham.

Myrna Berlet cut the first trail in 1971, and when she passed away last year, Berlet left this place more than $5 million dollars.

The donation will be distributed every year to protect the area and keep its legacy of nurturing the love of nature alive.

“When I heard about it I felt like a kid on Christmas day, absolutely a thrill. It’s such a blessing,” said Dandrow.

Benham says this year they’ve served more than 300 kids through their camps, and for her, it’s about the curiosity in their eyes that keeps her coming back every day.

“It’s heartwarming to know that we’re making a difference. Not just me but the Dahlem Center is,” continued Dandrow.