Hawai‘i Nature Center is a go

WAILUA — The Hawai‘i Nature Center has received a $500,000 capital improvement grant to build a 3,000-square-foot educational and environmental center on land surrounding the Wailua Reservoir, a state news release says.

The facility will expand Hawai‘i Nature Center’s presence in the state, currently limited to O‘ahu and Maui, and is intended to provide students, residents and visitors educational programs and outdoor nature experiences. An educational learning center with classrooms, a community meeting space and a recreational area will also be included.

“This grant will allow the organization to extend programs to the Kaua‘i community and help to foster a new generation of environmental leaders in our state,” Lingle said.

According to The Steward, a bi-monthly newsletter from the Hawai‘i Nature Center, a contract will be secured with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to facilitate fishing access, community education and to manage a concession for a public recreational fishing area.

Other plans include the state establishment of a water bird sanctuary in one section of the reservoir.

The estimated cost of the Kaua‘i facility is $4.5 million. The Hawai‘i Nature Center will be launching a capital campaign and applying for federal and foundation funding to cover remaining costs.

Design of the Kaua‘i facility is set to begin this month and wrap up in July 2009. Construction is expected to start in September 2009 and conclude in December 2011.

Hawai‘i Nature Center is a nonprofit dedicated to educating Hawai‘i youth about responsible stewardship of the islands and preserving natural resources.

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