Monday, March 16, 2009

My World: Carpenter Nature Center Visitor's Center

If you are a follower of the Ecobirder blog you are probably having nightmares lately about raptor eyes. For the first couple of weeks of March I have posted quizzes to see if people can identify the owners of various raptor eyes.
Part of the reason that I was able to post the second quiz, that focused on owl eyes, was because of an owl program that I attended the first weekend of March that was presented by the World Bird Sanctuary.
The sponsor of the event was the Carpenter Nature Center, along with several of their donors and corporate sponsors, and the program was held at CNC Visitors Center. The visitors center has been developing over the past several years and it is now a great example of the blending between nature, education and functionality that is indicative at CNC.
At one time this building was a concrete garage and maintenance shop that was also used for apple storage. It was remodeled into a visitors center in 2006. The open format of the building allows a lot of flexibility. This flexibility is necessary for the variety of programs that go on at CNC, from large public programs, like the owl program that I attended, to small gatherings, like the public bird banding that is held monthly, and even kid programs.However space alone is not enough to help teach the public, especially kids, about the importance of nature. So CNC has added a series of display that assist in their educational goals. These displays help to provide information to visitors when the staff and volunteers are not available.
Four new displays, each one focused on a type of habitat that can be found on the nature center, have recently been added. These displays are on wheels so that they can be moved around to accommodate the different configurations of the visitors center.
Not all the displays are on wheels. This wall houses openings where visitors can view reptiles and amphibians, snakes, frogs, turtles, and toads, that are housed in aquariums. Behind the wall is a work room which has all the necessities to take care of the critters, including a sink. This display allow CNC to display these creatures when staff and volunteers are not around with out worry that someone might open a cage to get a better look or pet the cute snake.
The nature center also houses several education raptors which can be seen through viewing windows in the visitors center. These birds were too badly hurt to be returned back to the wild so they are used by the CNC staff to educate visitors. Currently they include a great horned owl, red-tailed hawk, and peregrine falcon.
The birds are cared for by the CNC staff who access the birds mew, cage, by doors in the back. This is how they give the birds food water and take them in when it gets too cold at night.
Recycling is important at CNC and I guess you could consider the visitors center as the ultimate in a recycling project. They took an old garage and recycled it into a perfect tool for providing visitors with a stimulating and educational experience.


SandyCarlson said...

What an amazing place. It must be thrilling to work with these birds. I admire the commitment and spirit of those who do.

Sylvia K said...

That is indeed a marvelous place! And I agree with Sandy, it must be wonderful to work with the birds and I too, admire the commitment! Thanks so much for the info as well as the beautiful photos that give a fun look at the center. Love the owl!

Guy D said...

Great shots, thanks for the tour, the owl in the first shot is outstanding.

Have a great week!
Regina In Pictures

Jane Hards Photography said...

I think you have my second favourite job afte dog walker. Seriously This photographer would trade it in to do this. Your world makes me smile.

Arija said...

A wonderful post and I love your work and love for raptors.
The owls are just splendid.

The Good Life in Virginia said...

what an absolutely fascinating post and enjoyed each of the photos. i like how the center has done the different habitats...very clever display(s).
it is important to educate everyone and this center gets a huge A plus for its work.
thanks for sharing as always...