Your Huron-Clinton Metroparks have virtually cut the ribbon on a $60,000 renovation within the 4,500 square foot Nature Center at Lake St. Clair Metropark. Much needed upgrades were completed in part thanks to a $45,000 Recreation Passport grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
“We can not wait to share these new exhibits with all of our visitors, so until we can all experience them in person, we are going to share them virtually with everyone” says Metroparks Director, Amy McMillan. “The Nature Center at Lake St. Clair Metropark was in need of some upgrades, and we are all excited about the improvements these grant funds allowed us to make as we improve our visitor experience for all visitors”.
The Metroparks performed a virtual ribbon cutting as part of their virtual February 11th Board of Commissioners meeting. Our staff look forward to inviting visitors back into the building when Covid-19 restrictions allow them to safely do so, but until then you check it out virtually to learn more.
The Nature Center Renovation project is the Metroparks’ first Recreation Passport grant. The $45,000 grant supported the complete renovation of the wildlife interpretive exhibits including:
- a brand new tank display wall
- a brand new turtle tank that combines the four nature center turtles into one tank and makes them easier to see and interact with visitors
- new interactive interpretive displays
- updated flooring
- updated lighting
- updated finishes
The new displays and tank wall will not only give the exhibit space a more modern and interactive experience, but will make daily care of the animals easier and reduce the likelihood of unintentional visitor abuse to nature center animals as the tanks can be viewed from the public area, but tank openings will no longer be accessed from the public area.
Nature Center staff will continue to offer programs to classrooms of all grade levels, scout groups, homeschool groups, civic groups and senior groups in addition to public programs. Visitors can expect seasonal favorite programs in addition to new programs that utilize the renovated exhibits.
Currently, the Nature Center building remains closed to the public due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, but staff are excited to share these new exhibits with visitors as soon as they are able to safely open. In the meantime, visitors can still explore the nature trails and participate in outdoor public programming that can be found on the Metroparks website calendar.
What is a Recreation Passport Grant?
Each year Michigan citizens voluntarily contribute to Recreation Passport funds when they renew their license plates. Your Recreation Passport on your license plate tab helps to preserve state forests, state parks, campgrounds and trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks giving you access to more than 100 state parks, recreation areas, boating access sites, State Forest campgrounds and hundreds of miles of trails, protecting Michigan’s natural resources for the next generation.
“The money you spend on your Recreation Passport goes right back into maintaining and improving these state park resources for your use! The purchase of a Recreation Passport does more than just gain you vehicle access to these state park resources, it also provides funding to local units of government for local park improvements around the state. Each year the program provides nearly 2 million dollars in grants for local parks and trails.” says Christie Bayus, Program Manager, Recreation Passport, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
In 2021 Michigan’s Recreation Passport celebrates its ten-year anniversary. Since 2011 Recreation Passport grants to communities have funded 225 parks and recreation improvement projects throughout Michigan, in excess of 12 million dollars – including this project at Lake St. Clair Metropark.