FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 19, 2001
"Frank Harmon Architect designed a building for us that is both beautiful and functional," said Sam D. Hamilton, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast Regional Director. "They are well deserving of the award."
Frank Harmon, head of the nine-person firm, says he enjoys designing buildings with a focus on nature and the outdoors. "We listened to the needs of the refuge and created a building that serves the needs of its staff and attracts and inspires visitors."
The Walter B. Jones Center for the Sounds will feature a 75-seat auditorium, a large indoor classroom, a gift shop, and an exhibit hall with displays about pocosin wetlands and peat soils, the red wolf, and resident species such as the black bear. The building will also house the refuge's administrative offices. A non-profit group, the Partnership for the Sounds, will operate the visitors' section of the building. As yet, the visitors' center is still in the planning and organizing stage, and the refuge does not have a projected opening date. The Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge hosts 24,000 visitors annually.
The 113,674-acre refuge was established in 1990 and is located in Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties. The refuge lands were once the southern portion of the Great Dismal Swamp. Pocosin Lakes refuge hosts large numbers of ducks, geese, tundra swans, raptors, and black bears. It is also a red wolf reintroduction site. The refuge has an observation tower, and other visitor activities include wildlife photography, hunting, and fishing.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286