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Chief of Refuges Charlie Blair and Representative Michele Bachmann joined community members, refuge staff and Friends for the special event. Photo courtesy of Volunteer Mary Carlson.

Chief of Refuges Charlie Blair and Representative Michele Bachmann joined community members, refuge staff and Friends for the special event. Photo courtesy of Volunteer Mary Carlson.

New Environmental Education Facility Coming Soon
to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge and Friends of Sherburne celebrated the groundbreaking of their new environmental education facility on September 22, 2014. Chief of Refuges Charlie Blair and Representative Michele Bachmann joined community members, refuge staff and Friends for the special event.

Construction of the new 4,000 square-foot outdoor education classroom facility near Zimmerman, Minnesota is slated to begin Fall 2014 and has a scheduled completion date of October 31, 2015.

This facility will allow the refuge to better meet the National Wildlife Refuge System mission by providing expanded environmental education and interpretation opportunities. Sherburne Refuge has offered wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities like these for many years, as well as hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and wildlife photography. Much thanks to the long-running support of the Friends of Sherburne, this new resource will be the hub of an ever-growing education program.

This facility will consist of two classrooms, indoor and outdoor accessible restrooms, and a Friends of Sherburne gift store. The building will be used for numerous educational programs throughout the year, regardless of the weather. One of the educational activities will be “EE Days” where several area schools bring 600 students annually to the refuge as part of their science curriculum.

In addition to year-round education activities, this facility will be used for special training opportunities for teachers and environmental groups. Currently, Sherburne Refuge has more than 80,000 visitors a year and anticipates that this new facility will only increase visitation to the area. In return, this higher visitation will help stimulate the economy of all the surrounding communities.

The timing of this facility could not be better, as Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015. The building has also been designed so that a large visitor center addition could be added in the future, if funding should allow.

The facility will be located on the south side of County Rd 9 just southwest of the Sherburne Refuge headquarters. Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge is a 31,000-acre refuge located in Sherburne County and is one of more than 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By Steve Karel
Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Architectural drawing of the new education facility that is coming to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge by USFWS.

Architectural drawing of the new education facility that is coming to Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS.

 

Last updated: November 5, 2014