Threshold Learning Center - Zearing, Iowa
About Us and Our Organizational History

Threshold Learning Center (TLC) is a non-profit organization established by a family of educators with a combined 75 years of experience in the classroom and outdoor education facilities. Providing science, recreation, and nature education at separate locations for several years, the family decided to work together to provide quality science programs in an informal setting.  For fifteen years, the family successfully developed and revitalized outdoor education facilities and camps for other non-profit organizations in Southern California and Iowa.  However, the goals of these organizations often fell short of the family's personal educational goals. So, in November of 2001, they officially incorporated their different strengths and created Threshold Learning Center, an organization that would always place student experience first.

Educational programs were delivered in classrooms until the organization was able to obtain 26 acres in October of 2002.  Located on the northeast corner of Zearing, it is centrally located to various school districts. Twelve new members from the surrounding area have since joined the Board of Directors.  We have planted nearly 1,200 trees, blazed trails, built a team obstacle course, started a Memorial Garden, established prairie and wetland habitats, cleared a campsite and fire ring, and moved an indoor classroom and barn to the site.  In May of 2006, renovations to establish the barn as an overnight dormitory for both students and visitors to Zearing began.  For more information on our barn renovation progress, see our Projects section.    

TLC's primary objective is to provide quality science programs for schools from across the state.  Our 5 day/4 night program was fundamentally developed for middle school students, offering an in-depth study of Astronomy, Geology, Archaeology, Ecology, and Environmental Science. We are able to individualize programs to accomodate any age, and the length of each program can be increased or decreased to meet the needs of each school group. TLC offers several nature and science programs that can be brought to the school classroom, as well as continuing education programs for adults, teachers, college students, and families.

In conjunction with our science programs, TLC offers:

  • After-school programs for students grades 4-8.
  • Birthday and slumber parties for any age.
  • Team Building and Challenge Course activities for schools, sport teams, and corporations. This includes handicap accessible climbing equipment.
  • Several seasonal festivals and programs open to the public as a means to foster membership appreciation, membership development, and public outreach.
  • Various fundraisers throughout the year - old fashioned family photograph sessions in the spring, a one-stop holiday shopping event in the late fall, showcasing local crafters and venders, and a formal dinner in the winter.
  • Weekend and summer retreats for families, artists, writers, youth groups, etc. in our barn dormitory that include “Bed & Breakfast” hospitality and educational programs upon request. The barn may also be rented for parties or overnight accommodations.