Nature Center Hosts Grand Opening Saturday
January 11, 2020 9:20am
The dream started 12 years ago, and now it’s a reality. Prairie Woods Nature Center, located at Oak Grove Park north of Hawarden celebrates its grand opening Saturday. Ten years of dreaming and planning led the Sioux County Conservation Board to a ground-breaking for the facility August 1 of 2018. After just seventeen months of construction, the doors will open to the public.
Sioux County Conservation Board Assistant Director and Environmental Education Coordinator, Sunday Ford says, the $4.8 million project included a local fund-raising campaign to raise $2.3 million, and that mark was surpassed. The project also received an Enhance Iowa Community Grant of $600,000 which was the full amount applied for.
Prairie Woods will serve as headquarters for the Sioux County Conservation’s Environmental Education team which is made up of two full-time staff: Sunday Ford, and Naturalist Sarah Davelaar, and a couple part-time folks. Conservation Board Director, Robert Klocke, will also be in the building. During summer months, the staff is joined by two Naturalist interns and many volunteers, which, according to Ford, provide an invaluable service.
Ford says the goal of the nature center is to provide education that enhances the outdoor experience for all ages in Sioux County, leading to environmental appreciation, understanding, and stewardship.
The facility is a two-level, 12,000 square foot building that will host school education programs, naturalist led field trips, nursing home visits, preschool visits, library programs, public programs, summer camps, partnerships with civic groups, and much more. Inside the center are many hands-on activities for kids and adults; including reading, searching for listed items, live animals, exhibits, and more.
The grand opening starts Saturday at 9am and continues until 5pm. The public will enjoy trail mix, cider, and coffee as they explore Prairie Woods Nature Center. Prairie Woods will be open year-round, and there is no entrance fee.
Official business hours begin Tuesday, January 14. Official winter hours for the Prairie Woods Nature Center are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9-4; Thursdays from 1-4; Saturdays from 9-12; the nature center is closed Sundays and Mondays.
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