Nature Discovery Center leader Henry Owen is moving on

Henry Owen

Bellaire is losing a highly regarded leader with the announcement Thursday that Henry Owen is stepping down as executive director of the Nature Discovery Center in Bellaire.

Owen said in an email statement that he would serve until the end of November, then move on to become executive director of John Knox Ranch, which he describes as a summer camp and retreat center near Wimberley.

Owen had led the center since 2014, overseeing the completion of a $1.26 million Gateway Project that made significant educational upgrades to the center itself and surrounding Russ Pitman Park.

A native Texan, his experience as a classroom teacher, camp leader and nonprofit founder and executive director proved to be the perfect combination to strengthen and move forward the nearly 30-year-old Nature Discovery Center.

There was no immediate word on who will replace Owen.

Here is Owen’s statement, in part:

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served the Nature Discovery Center over the last four years. I am immensely proud of the great work that our team accomplished and the thousands of lives we helped connect to nature. Success is not possible without a community of people pulling in the same direction. Thank you to the staff and board of the Nature Discovery Center; our members, supporters, and visitors; the City of Bellaire residents and staff; and all our partner organizations across greater Houston.

The Nature Discovery Center is a unique place where kids and adults have a much-needed place to see migratory birds, watch butterflies, enjoy native wildflowers, and catch tadpoles. The mission: to ignite lifelong curiosity, understanding, and respect for nature through education is as relevant today as it has ever been.

The future of the organization is bright. I look forward to following the story as it unfolds. I am so grateful for the impact the Nature Discovery Center and its people have had on my life and that of my family. It was a pleasure to serve with you.