FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2014
Gerry Shimek, Acting Refuge Manager
New Visitor Center Opens at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge
Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge staff are excited to welcome visitors to their new visitor center. Photo by USFWS.
The new headquarters and visitor center of Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge opened yesterday after two years of planning, design, and construction. The building incorporates a visitor reception area, a much-anticipated environmental education room, and office space for 10 employees.
“Our staff is excited to share this new facility with our visitors and conservation partners,” said Acting Refuge Manager Gerry Shimek.
“Even though some of our displays have not yet arrived, we think we will provide a better experience for our community right away,” continued Shimek.
In a few weeks, the facility will receive new displays about the natural areas of the region. A grand opening event will be scheduled later this summer after a few remaining details are completed.
The new facility is at 10728 County Road X61 near Wapello, Iowa, in Louisa County and is adjacent to the previous office complex.
While providing more space for staff and visitors, the new building uses a number of technologies to greatly reduce its energy consumption. By using solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, improved insulation practices, recycled materials, and high-efficiency lighting components the building is LEED gold certified. The LEED rating system is a program for buildings constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
“Our previous office, which was built in the 1960s, was becoming more and more expensive to operate and maintain,” said Shimek.
The new headquarters and visitor center is designed to welcome visitors and provide a venue to inform them about the natural areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, as well as the conservation role of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It also features a walking trail and an overlook to the Mississippi River Valley.
Learn more about Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge and plan your next visit: www.fws.gov/refuge/port_louisa/
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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