Steele Creek Park Nature Center in Bristol has recently undergone quite a makeover. If you haven't been there in some years, months or weeks it is a good place to spend awhile during a cold winter day and enjoy the new display layout. It is the handiwork of staff naturalist Don Holt. Don spent many quality hours planning how it would come about and just what went where and had the best educational an interesting impact. I had the opportunity to visit the center when he was first starting to get the big picture of how this should come about. Then, a few weeks ago, enjoyed his giving me a walk thru to see the results and experience the pleasant and appealing results. The meandering and random placements of aquariums and larger elements offer a miniature walking adventure as you wait and look around each turn to feel the flow and enjoy surprises. His creativity is not only artsy but drops subtle hints of a professional museum mindset, even if all of the items do not match his same curatorial skills. It is a refreshing and fun revisit to a layout put in place and slightly moderated during the past five years with a few new items -- begging for both a good dusting and more something new than something old. You will quickly appreciate the educational additions that feature new details and new depth for adults. Let alone the big-eyed, giggles and touch me invites from the hands on layouts and little hands exploring items reduced to a child's eyelevel world and perspective. Geese flying overhead and a fox peering over a display bring many of the mounts to life. Even long-valued entries are given new views and new ways for naturalists to get close. To see details and look some fairly-thrilling animals in the eye. Holt's extensive knowledge from years afield and nearly as many more as an educator with school children at other environmental camps and the University of Tennessee 4-H Center at Greeneville have allowed him to store his knowledge and sharpen his view of understanding of our natural world. Perhaps the city should have an open house called the Best of Don Holt and let his friends and others from around the region come to experience the excitement and appeal. They could take a moment to share with Don, other naturalists and everyone can express their gratitude for what the City of Bristol Tennessee has created and presented. And tell Don and staff the same. In 1970, we set out to create a special nature center that would steer park visitors from the temptation to have nothing more than overly materialistic and massive architecture. Guide them to a simple, compact and relaxing walk thru nature center which would interpret the vast and well-documented Steele Creek Park natural history. At the center of the focus was to avoid the greedy, needy, hunger and thirst that bureaucrats and insecure administrators worship to count heads or running staff in and out of school rooms like a fire inspector in a dog costume. To not satisfy ourselves with six figure numbers of child visitors flowing thru the displays, pinching and pushing while the adult chaperones and teachers gossip and visit in the back. To give visitors something to remember and not an experience they barely remember. For years the city and the center have valued this quality experience rather than the bottom-line attendance head counts filed away, not read, in stuffy reports -- proof of accomplishments and satisfactions the real world doesn't see, seek or value. Now we have the presentational and educational tools to continue the pace and keep the vigil for the natural history at Steele Creek Park and not be signed out to talk about far off animals in a rainforest or prehistoric somethings from somewhere else. There are others who have that mission and do it well. There are others with the resources and facilities and that natural history to share. There are others who do environmentally sexy stunts when they know little else to do. No one communicates, teaches and entertains you about the natural history of Steele Creek Park like our nature center program and its staff. Don Holt's vision and hard work gave it all a much needed transfusion and new lease on life, just when the nature center needed it. With class and style ! Thanks, Don !