Contributed by
Auburn University
By Gracen Carter 

Jennifer Lolley, who supervised the management of Auburn University’s Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, or KPNC, as chief curator of programs, live collections and outreach activities since 2007, retired as outreach administrator March 4.

A community event to celebrate Lolley is planned for April 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the KPNC, located at 2222 N. College St. in Auburn. All members of the community who have been impacted by Lolley and her work are welcome to attend.

“Jennifer Lolley has been an asset to the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center,” said city of Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “She turned a responsibility into a passion and has served the KPNC well. She is creative, industrious, thoughtful and kind. She has worked very hard for the children in the community.”

The KPNC, located on a 120-acre parcel of land, was donated to the Auburn’s College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences by Louise Kreher Turner and her husband, Frank Allan Turner, in 1993. The college slowly developed the land as an outreach facility with hiking trails and several structures, including an amphitheater and pavilion.

However, it wasn’t until Lolley was hired that the facility grew to serve tens of thousands of area visitors and community members each year through its environmental education programs. Lolley, who graduated with a degree in biology from Auburn in 1986, worked in other areas of the state, including at the Landmark Park in Dothan for two years, before returning to the Auburn community with her husband, Mark, and three children, Kaitlin, Chelsea and Jordan, in 2006.

Lolley believes the nature playground she established at the preserve changed how the facility was viewed in the community and increased visitation. She is most proud of the KPNC’s programming, visitation numbers and the KPNC board.

During her 15-year career at the KPNC, Lolley loved watching the joy that people experienced when visiting the preserve and the imagination it inspired. When the nature playground was nearing completion, she recalled how the children played on the big rocks, each holding a stick pretending to paddle downstream.

She hopes to be remembered for developing the KPNC into the place it is today — as a home for the community to enjoy the outdoors.

“Jennifer Lolley is responsible for making the KPNC an invaluable resource for the community,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “She has a diverse knowledge of environmental education and a passion for community, which she used to make the preserve a better place.”