People and Places with Pierce: A Time For Science

GRIFTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Nestled along a dead end road a little known nature center in Grifton offers more than meets the eye.

“We are not a location that you pass on accident,” said Emily Jarvis, executive director of A Time For Science. “A lot of people aren’t aware that this little hidden gem is right here in the community. A Time For Science was founded in 2009 by John and Nancy Bray.”

“Nancy was a science teacher and she was iconic here in Pitt County,” explained Maria McDaniel, educational program director at A Time For Science. “She’s taught in several schools and just has this love of science and a love to share it with children. So her and John, John being a scientist himself, wanted to do something for the community.”

“They worked to first of all buy up all of this land, about 400 acres, for the sole purpose of creating a resource in the community for informal science education,” said Jarvis.

One of the main missions of A Time For Science is to provide a safe place for people to get out and enjoy nature. One of the ways you can do that is by kayaking one of the center’s many natural ponds.

“Oh my gosh, A Time For Science is so awesome,” exclaimed Jarvis. “We have everything from hiking to kayaking. We put on all sorts of public programs like fishing derbies, astronomy and planetarium shows. We have telescope viewing, full moon paddles, and the list goes on and on.”

“We have children out here almost every day for field trips,” said McDaniel.

10,000 came through last year alone.

“In this area of our center, everything is touchable,” explained McDaniel. “They hear all day don’t touch, don’t touch, be quiet, walk in a line. Well not at A Time For Science. Enjoy, be loud. It’s ok. You’re gonna be outside and having a great time today with us.”

“It’s kind of cool to get these kids out on the trails and experiencing nature really for the first time,” added Jarvis.

“We have 3 distinct trails and along those trails there are signs up,” added McDaniel. “So you can walk along, see a picture of a bird, and then you can stop and maybe you can find it and identify it.”

“There’s so much hustle and bustle in life right now,” said Jarvis. “Whether you’re on your own or whether you’re coming with a family, it offers you time to spend quality time and just take a breath and sit back and enjoy the world around you.”

Relax, unwind, and learn a little about nature at a place that’s close to home.


Pierce is always looking for interesting and unique people and places to visit. If you have an idea, send him an email or a message on Facebook or Twitter.


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