Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Prairie Wetlands Learning Center Expansion Groundbreaking
Midwest Region, September 12, 2007
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The Prairire Wetlands Learning Center (Fergus Falls Wetland Management District) broke ground for a $2 million expansion of it's environmental education facility on  September 12. The expansion will add four new classrooms, teacher offices, gathering areas, conference room and storage totalling nearly 12,000 square feet.

Minnesota State Representative Bud Nornes and Minnesota State Senator Dan Skogen were among those celebrating the groundbreaking, along with fifty students in the Prairie Science Class. Also in attendance were the City Council and School Board from Fergus Falls, members of the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center and many members of the community.

This project is an example of successful partnerships. The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center (PWLC) is a result of the vision of local conservationists in the Fergus Falls area who saw a need for an educational center in the prairie pothole region. In the early 1980's the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center was formed, and over the next several years successfully obtained $3 million from the State of Minnesota for the City of Fergus Falls to build the Center. After opening in 1998, the Center worked with numerous foundations, conservation organizations and agencies to expand and enhance both the facilities and the environmental education program.

Today, the Friends group is instrumental in obtaining funding to further the work of the Center. Partnering with the Fergus Falls Public Schools, local and regional foundations, and the Service, the PWLC will host 200 fourth and fifth graders each day in the 2008 school year as part of the Prairie Science Class. Approximately half of the over 30,000 students that visit the PWLC are from Fergus Falls, with the remainder coming from around Minnesota and North Dakota. The expanded facilities will allow the PWLC to continue it's efforts to reconnect children and nature, while meeting the educational needs of students from the region.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov
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