Northland's Very Own: Pete Gravett

By KBJR News 1

December 31, 2010 Updated Dec 31, 2010 at 8:48 AM CDT

Pete Gravett has dedicated his life to nature.

He started out studying chemistry and biology but it didn't take long for him to realize the lab life wasn't for him.

"So after about 8 months of working with human samples I decided it was time to work with humans," says Pete.

That's when Pete discovered his love and his gift for teaching children about nature.

"He gets so absorbed in teaching that he is always the one that will run the class too long. He's never back in time to get the kids on the bus. The other groups will be back and everyone's like: where's Pete's class," says Gail Watczak with Hartley Nature Center.

Pete has spent time teaching at several facilities.

But when an opportunity arose at Hartley Nature Center, he knew it was the right fit.

"It was pretty obvious that it was something that I needed to pursue and just shape it into something that would be of real value to the community," says Pete.

Pete was soon hired as Hartley Nature Center's Executive Director.

Immediately Pete began developing programs and classes to educate people about nature, all the while raising money for the facility through his grant writing.

"When I started Hartley's budget was $118,000 and now it's about three times that," says Pete.

Pete has helped attract about 20,000 visitors a year to Hartley through its various amenities from fishing to snowshoeing to bird watching.

"Hartley has been a piece of creative expression in a lot of ways," says Pete.

A creative expression that Pete plans to always make a part of his life.

Pete will be stepping down from his role as executive director at Hartley Nature Center in the near future.

He plans to focus more on his role as a teacher along with working with a committee to ensure the future of Hartley through an endowment fund.