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In memoriam: Donna Scheeter, former head of Bear Creek Nature Center

       Donna Joan Scheeter, who led the Bear Creek Nature Center from 1992 to 2007, died Aug. 18 from ovarian cancer.
       Born Dec. 14, 1945 in Warsaw, Indiana, she was 70.
       According to her obituary, “When she was a little girl, she was a champion speller, an ace
With the Bear Creek Nature Center building in the background, Donna Scheeter stands on a trail bridge in February 2007, shortly before her retirement as El Paso County's superintendent of nature centers.
Westside Pioneer file photo
free throw shooter and a talented baseball player who, as a 10-year old, aspired to play shortstop for the Brooklyn Dodgers.”
       After gaining a master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University, she taught at different universities in the Midwest, including Indiana.
       In February 2007, as Scheeter neared retirement from the Bear Creek Nature Center, the Westside Pioneer interviewed her. The article explained her Colorado relocation this way:
       “In 1989, Donna Scheeter came to Colorado Springs as part of a one-year sabbatical from her park and recreation management instructional position at William & Mary College in Virgina.
       “She never went back.
       “She had no permanent job, just a passion to learn about outdoor interpretation (the art of understanding outdoor lore and explaining it to the public). She wound up volunteering at the Bear Creek Nature Center, where she took training classes and learned 'as much as I could.'”
       This led to her 1992 hiring as superintendent of interpretation for El Paso County Parks' nature centers - at first just the Bear Creek facility, later Fountain Creek as well.
       A fond recollection was the community response in 2000 after an arson fire destroyed the original Bear Creek Nature Center (built in 1976). By 58 percent margin, citizens voted to spend $400,000 in excess tax revenues to build the facility that's there now.
       “That was one of the top highlights in my career,” Donna said in the Pioneer interview. “It told us the public truly supports our nature centers.”
       Donna is survived by her brother Charles and her sister Karen, along with extended family and friends.
       To see the 2007 Westside Pioneer article on Donna Scheeter, go to this link.

Westside Pioneer/obituary
(Posted 8/23/16; Community: In Memoriam)

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