The Nature Conservancy Niobrara River Valley Preserve

The Nature Conservancy’s 56,000-acre Niobrara Valley Preserve is one of the largest conservancy preserves in the U.S. and a model for grassland management using bison, cattle and fire. The Preserve offer visitors extensive hiking trails, river recreation and educational opportunities within a natural setting.

BVH Architecture is providing programming and master planning confirmation. As a result of collaborating with The Nature Conservancy executive team and board of directors, the first phase of the extensive master plan is a visitor center designed by BVH, currently in the construction document phase. The visitor center will be utilized to educate and orient visitors on the grounds of the Conservancy and demonstrate the missional focus of the Conservancy while providing meeting and staff office space.

The project is designed to work harmoniously with the natural environment through sustainable methods and nuanced material choices. The use of charred wood siding (Shou-sugi-ban) and Cor-ten steel recalls the forces of nature on materials. The use of structurally insulated panels to enclose the building envelope provides a highly insulated, structurally sound building with decades of durability. The natural wonder of the Valley Preserve environment is celebrated through an empirically calibrated window system using modular steel louvers. The system allows views to the landscape, obstructs unwanted solar heat gain during the summer and allows the sun to help heat the space during the winter months by the variable openness, similar to blinds. The system is developed through computer analysis of pertinent data in real-time as the design is fine tuned to provide an aesthetically pleasing, high-performance façade system. The result will be a beautiful visitor center tailored to compliment the noble goals of The Nature Conservancy.


Ainsworth, NE

Year Completed

On the Boards


The Nature Conservancy


3,250 sq. ft.

BVH Team