DE environmental education center nears opening
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
After more than a decade of planning, and months of building, the DuPont Environmental Education Center is almost ready to open its doors to visitors on the Wilmington riverfront.
An environmental education center was part of the initial plans, made in 1994 for redeveloping the riverfront. At the time, Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) executive director Michael Purzycki says it was thought to be one of the easier components of redevelopment to be completed. "It turned out because of all the permits, because of all the environmental issues… it turned out to be the most difficult project." But the delay actually resulted in a much bigger project than was initially envisioned. "While we were being delayed, we were able to raise more money and get more support."
The educational center, which sits on the edge of the 212-acre Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge, will open to the public October 10. The four stories offer lab and classroom space, areas for interactive learning stations, and an auditorium. Each floor of the building features open-air decks which offer sweeping views of the marshland on the south side, and the city skyline to the north.
The center, which is owned by the RDC, will be managed by the Delaware Nature Society. The society will host educational programs for children and adults. Those programs will include nature walks through the marsh, bird watching, and much more. Purzycki says the education center and the refuge really define the soul of the riverfront. "Ultimately, I think what our legacy is, is as much environmental reclamation as it is economic development. We have really cleaned hundreds and hundreds of acres which were so degraded and polluted."
Click here to find out more about events at the Delaware Environmental Education Center.