77: Sandy Creek Nature Center Exhibit Modernization

Project Description from submission form

This project will upgrade and better focus the aging Coast and Wetlands Interactive Learning Centers (ILCs) at Sandy Creek Nature Center. These ILCs are the oldest "exhibits" at SCNC, dating to 1998 and 2001, respectively. They are wearing out and are not up to the same standards for interactivity, sustainability and multi-generational learning as the new Agriculture, Woodlands, Urban, & Sky Center ILCs created through SPLOST 2011. This project will build on previous investments by SPLOST, donors, and the community to help ensure the environmental education mission of SCNC remains robust and relevant.

The Coastal ILC features a 2,000-gallon aquarium with smaller viewing tanks. Visitors investigate subjects such as the variety of life that inhabits the ocean off the Georgia coast. The exhibit displays live sea turtles, fish, and other creatures to help visitors explore the coastal environment and how actions we take in Northeast Georgia impact the coast and our local environment.

Upgrade: Install features to enhance interactivity and educational graphics that convey current & anticipated relationships between Athens & the coastal environment. Concepts will include sea level changes, habitat loss, and the importance of marshes and barrier islands. Upgrade pumps, lighting and other "backroom" systems to current, more energy-efficient standards. Two substandard aquariums will be replaced with a larger aquarium better representing near-shore areas of the Georgia coast.

The Wetlands ILC introduces visitors to a local freshwater pond system. It features live turtles, fish, salamanders, frogs, and plants. A panoramic pond-side mural with full-size, touchable models of animals, projecting microscopes, and other features provide interactive experiences. Underwater viewing of two 1,000-gallon freshwater aquariums allows observation of animal behaviors not easily seen in the natural environment.

Upgrade: Better align messages with Athens-Clarke County environmental protection and sustainability goals related to stormwater, wastewater, and water quality. Update aging audio-visual messages using current technology and enhance accessibility to a variety of visitors. Enhance understanding of local water issues including pollution, demand from a growing city, and the importance of rivers, creeks, and wetlands in our urban landscape. As with the Coastal ILC, pumps, lighting and "backroom" systems will be upgraded for enhanced efficiency and sustainability.

Estimated Cost:  
SPLOST 2020 Budget
$308,000
Estimated Annual Operating Impact
$4,000

Project Presentation Video

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