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Woodland Dunes opens new Nature Center

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 4:01 PM CDT
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TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WBAY) - It’s an expansion project near the lakeshore that will benefit thousands of visitors each year in Manitowoc County.

Thursday, we received our first look inside the new $2.2 million addition at Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve, which is about as new as new can be.

“We’re just in the process of opening now,” says Jim Knickelbine, Woodland Dunes executive director.

After suffering for years with a lack of space due to growing interest in educational programs from schools and community groups, Woodland Dunes broke ground in February thanks to 80 individual and business donors.

“It’s very gratifying for us that so many people in this community are willing to support us -- and beyond; we had some donors that were even out of state,” says Knickelbine.

The new addition features a massive meeting room with a kitchen, as well as updated restrooms.

The parking lot is permeable to prevent rainwater runoff, just one of the project's many environmentally friendly designs.

“We incorporated a lot of other green features into this building. There’s a geothermal heating and cooling system with piping all over, under the ground beneath us. There’s an electric vehicle charging station out front,” explains Knickelbine.

With participation in environmental programs up to more than 6,000 adults and children a year, the new addition's impact will be immediate.

“It will make it much more effective for us to do environmental education programming,. We have a lot more tools available to us with the additional space. We have a very small staff, and a lot of people helped make this possible,” says Knickelbine.

Due to current COVID-19 concerns, only 10 visitors will be allowed inside the new nature center at a time and all guests are asked to wear a face covering.

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