GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Blandford Nature Center has expanded its free memberships to more health care workers.

The nature center in Grand Rapids started by offering memberships to workers at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Such memberships, good for a year, were then made available to employees of Mercy Health, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health and Spectrum Health,

Blandford said the memberships were a thank you to health care workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“As you (health care workers) help so many, we hope to help you and your family rejuvenate, restore, and seek solace in nature now and in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic,” Blandford President and CEO Jason Meyer said.

So far, the nature center said Thursday, some 2,700 people have taken advantage of the free memberships.

Lake Michigan Credit Union and the Warner Norcross + Judd law firm are backing the program.

While Blandford has been open, the pandemic dealt a harsh financial blow to the organization as its annual Sugarbush Festival and school field trips were canceled. It got some help from the federal Paycheck Protection Program but still had to lay off workers. It is looking for volunteers.