Putting a Planned Gift to Good Use
This May will marks the nature center’s 48th anniversary. Prior to our opening in May of 1967, volunteers were busy constructing the nature center’s first education building. Rip Schemm and Don Naish designed the building and construction began in December of 1966. The building was enclosed, heated, and lighted by the time a three foot snowstorm hit in February of 1967. It was finished by volunteers coming in on skis, sleds, and snowshoes. This small 25 foot by 40 foot structure contained many of the elements of our current large building, but the classroom, library, gift shop, bird observation windows, and restrooms were all a miniature versions of those found in the wonderful facility we have today. This building was intended primarily for weekend use, but before it was finished it was evident that a full-fledged nature center building was needed.
In the early 1970’s, a capital campaign was conducted and a new, large education building was erected. At this point, the 1967 structure remained in place and attached to the new building, but it basically became an unheated back room which was used sparingly. As the nature center continued to grow, this back room went through a series of changes. One of the restrooms was given an outside entrance for use by visitors after hours. Interior walls were constructed to create a darkroom and offices. The remaining space was used when needed, and the need was growing. The area was utilized for Summer Field School classes, Heritage Harvest Days, and special events. It was also a convenient storeroom.
By the turn of the century, it was obvious that Seven Ponds had once more outgrown its facility. An ambitious capital campaign was conducted which resulted in the completion of our current building in the fall of 2009. While most of the project focused on a large building addition, some changes were made to the original 1967 structure. The original configuration of the room was restored by removing the interior walls and restoring the inside restroom entrance. New lighting and ceiling insulation were added. And, the back room got its heat back when it was connected to the geothermal heating and cooling system which now serves the entire large structure. The room became a combination classroom and collections storage area.
A new room with a new view of the birding feeding station.
Thanks to a generous planned gift last year, the nature center was able to make additional improvements to the 1967 structure this winter, 48 years after it was constructed. The renovation work included additional insulation, new windows and doors, flooring, bathroom vanities, window quilts, and trim to match the rest of our large facility. The work makes the room more energy efficient, more attractive, and more usable for a variety of nature center activities. The room will serve as a classroom, meeting space, bird observation area, and craft area. It will also continue to serve as the center’s collection storage room. The staff and volunteers are very excited about the improvements. I hope that you will take a look at the old back room the next time you visit. The original 1967 building has come full circle.
Thanks again for your support. We hope to see you often in 2017.
Mike Champagne, Executive Director