By Ms Romanda L Walker (USACE)October 18, 2011
ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- More than 1,000 people flocked to the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers October 15-16 for the grand opening of the Audubon Center at Riverlands.
The unique partnership between the National Audubon Society and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides opportunities for families, teachers, students and nature lovers from across the country and the globe.
By working together, each organization leverages its expertise in their shared goals of education, outreach and habitat conservation.
"We are fortunate to have partners and supporters who share the Corps' commitment to stewardship," St. Louis District Commander Col Chris Hall said. It is through our partners and the support of the community that we have been able to continue expanding environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities."
The center allows visitors of all ages to learn firsthand about the Mississippi River, its wetlands and forests, wildlife and migratory birds and the importance of preserving water quality for all species.
Set in 3,700 acres of prairie marsh and forest within the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, the facility offers a variety of educational programming to engage diverse audiences in conservation through citizen-science and hands-on experiences.
"The Audubon Center at Riverlands's design has the effect of almost pouring a person into the landscape… even taking their breath away," Dr. Patricia Hagen, executive director of the Audubon Center at Riverlands, said.
Designed to resemble the complexity of a bird's nest, the Center's two-story circular bay windows provide visitors a 140-degree view of the river and the 325 bird species that live and migrate through the area, including trumpeter swans, American bald eagles and American white pelicans.
Last month, the center's St. Louis District project team was presented the 2011 St. Louis Construction News and Review Magazine Regional Excellence Award for Best Public Project.
Constructed to LEED Silver standards, the building features energy efficient roofs, windows and mechanical systems. Other green features of the building include three large cisterns for rainwater storage, as well as native landscaping and minimal outdoor lighting to create quiet welcoming nesting areas.
"We are really excited that we have gained this recognition for the Audubon Center at Riverlands project and the District, as the design of the building so well represents the spirit of the Sanctuary and will help engage the public on the importance of partnerships, the environment and the Corps missions," Recreation Interpretive Services Manager for the Rivers Project Office of the Corps Kim Rhea said.
The Audubon Center at Riverlands is open daily and is located at 301 Riverlands Way, adjacent to the Rivers Project Office in West Alton, Mo.
For more information about the Audubon Center at Riverlands and upcoming events, visit www.riverlands.audubon.org or call (636) 899-0090. Follow the Audubon Center at Riverlands on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/osajWG