Thursday, September 20, 2018

Wildlife For Everyone Foundation Receives Grant For Wildlife Center At Tom Ridge Wetlands Preserve In Centre County

The Wildlife For Everyone Foundation received a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority Tuesday to kick off planning and construction of the Wildlife Center at the Tom Ridge Wetlands Preserve in Huston Township, Center County.
The Foundation’s proposed Wildlife Center will be an ADA-certified, outdoor learning space and nature observatory that will feature a one-mile, accessible trail allowing all individuals to experience nature regardless of their physical limitation.
“The planned Wildlife Center will significantly improve the quality of life for our community and region by providing increased access to our natural resources,” said Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre), who supported the Foundation’s bid for state grant money.
“This is an exciting project that not only encourages people to get out and experience nature, it makes experiencing the outdoors accessible to everyone. It’s yet another example of why our community is a great place to live and visit,” added Sen. Corman.
The Wildlife Center project addresses the shortage of accessible natural areas across the state that offer passive recreational opportunities for persons with disabilities.
This project will meet or exceed all ADA requirements and provide full accessibility, allowing persons with physical challenges to navigate easily from the parking lot to all features of the Center including the trail loop, picnic facilities and restrooms.
The project will include a one-mile accessible boardwalk with benches and observation areas, educational pavilion with picnic tables, interpretive signage and restrooms. A handicap-accessible fishing platform is also planned.  
Stream restoration on 660 feet of Bald Eagle Creek where the fishing pier will be constructed is scheduled for October 2018.
The 135-acre property gifted to the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation by the WHM Group in 2010 includes 55 acres of mitigated wetlands.
The Ridge and Julian Wetlands attract over 190 species of birds as migrants or breeding residents.
The accessible Wildlife Center will capitalize on the beauty of the wetlands for the aesthetic, educational and recreational value it offers its visitors.  Groundbreaking is planned for the summer of 2019.
“I am thrilled after 18 months of planning with our talented committee to receive this crucial grant for our new Wildlife Center project from the Department of Community and Economic Development,” said Jerry Regan, Chair of the Wetlands Project for the Wildlife for Everyone Foundation.  “We can now get to work on the detailed drawing and bid the project out this winter. If all goes to plan, we will begin construction in the summer and have a dedication next fall. Creating accessibility for everyone is the keystone of this project and when completed, it will become a crown jewel in our state’s rich outdoor heritage.”
DCNR Grants
[Note: PA Recreation & Park Society, DCNR will hold Community Conservation grant Workshops In October and November for potential applicants.]
For more information on programs, initiatives, projects and how you can become involved, visit the Wildlife For Everyone Foundation website.
(Photo: Steve Dershem, Centre County Commissioner; Barb Schroeder, Public Relations Coordinator, Wildlife for Everyone Foundation (WFEF); Ashley Diehl,  WFEF Board member; Janet Nyce, Vice Chair, WFEF Board; Jake Corman, PA Senator; Glenn Thompson, U.S. Representative; and Denny Coleman, Wildlife Center Committee member in front.)

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