The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dedicated the new Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex Visitor Center and Headquarters at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley.
The 13,000-square-foot center is located within an hour’s drive of New York City, and it will serve as a hub for visitors to the ten national wildlife refuges on Long Island. Service staff will move into the building by early December 2011, and a grand opening event is planned for May 2012. The center features interactive exhibits, an environmental classroom with a wet lab, and a nature store run by the non-profit Friends of Wertheim.
Three miles of new trails originating at the building and two new viewing platforms along the Carmans River will be created before next spring, expanding the refuge’s trail system.
“As part of its vision for the 21st century, the National Wildlife Refuge System is undertaking a new urban refuge initiative to better serve people who live in metropolitan areas, ” said Service Deputy Director Rowan Gould. “Facilities like this new center will be central to this effort.”
“This outstanding new complex is the perfect gateway for residents and tourists seeking to enjoy Long Island’s world-class natural treasures,” said U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop (N.Y.). “With federal funding through the Recovery Act, this project employed local workers to build a facility that will enhance the experience of new and returning visitors to our community for many years to come.”
The center was built to meet the Gold-level certification criteria of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. It has a number of “green” features, including:
– Water efficient features that will save about 26,000 gallons of water a year;
– A geothermal system that reduces the use of fossil fuels for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. This energy savings would be enough to heat three medium-sized houses and cool one house for a year; – Flooring made from recycled rubber from old tires and carpeting made of recycled materials;
– Wood trim from plantation-grown trees, helping to preserve wild forests;
– A solar photovoltaic system on the roof that will reduce the building’s power consumption.
The national wildlife refuges on Long Island provide nearly 6,500 acres of habitat for migratory birds, threatened and endangered species and other wildlife. From rare grasslands to maritime tidal areas, the habitats are rich and diverse. In addition to Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, other units include Amagansett, Conscience Point, Gardiners Point Island, Lido Beach, Elizabeth A. Morton, Oyster Bay, Sayville, Seatuck, and Target Rock national wildlife refuges.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.