|Ribbon-cutting at Grand Opening|
Three years ago this week, actually on September 8, 2011, the Refuge Office and Visitor Center at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge held its grand opening. And how grand it has been since!
|Visitors at Grand Opening|
In late March 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Refuge Staff and the Friends were excited to learn that the new Visitor Center had been awarded Silver Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design . More than 20 different design aspects helped reach this level.
|Building under construction|
Transportation/energy costs were reduced by use of locally available materials for the most part, including Texas limestone for much of the construction.
There are five “green” plaques in the Visitor Center that describe other LEED features. Be sure to look for them the next time you visit!
In the new venue, the Friends of Hagerman NWR will have sponsored 34 Second Saturday programs as of September 13, 2014: two Super Saturdays and ten sessions of Youth First, the expanded program for youngsters, since the Grand Opening.
|Gathering in Visitor Center for bird walk|
Additional programs offered have included a screening of the Aldo Leopold story, Green Fire, History Day at Hagerman, a Bow Hunting Seminar, Wild Wednesday story hours (2012), 3-day BirdFest Texoma in 2013, a Fun Friday on January 3 this year and most recently, Snakes at Hagerman NWR .
School groups, clubs and other groups, including the Bluestem Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists, have enjoyed tours and presentations in the new building as well as out on the Refuge.
|Visiting school group|
This spring, the Nature Nook hours were expanded from the original 10 - 3 on weekdays, to 9 – 4 Monday through Saturday and 1- 5 on Sunday, with a dedicated group of volunteers to serve visitors every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
The saying, “If you build it they will come” has held true at Hagerman – the total number of persons checking in at the previous Visitor Center for all of 2010 was 7065, compared to 9664, for January through August of 2014. Many local visitors have stated, “I have been to the Refuge before but I never came to the Visitor Center – this is great!”
|Visitor Center, 2011, by Ken Day|
Grand Opening photos by Skip and Melinda Hill.
Information on green building features provided by Kathy Whaley.