Facility will provide extraordinary learning opportunities
The long awaited $7 million dollar, 28,500 sq. ft. E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center has taken shape, with construction completion slated for June and grand opening in September.
Developed by local conservationist, M.C. Davis on his 48,000-acre conservation land named Nokuse Plantation, the Center will offer students and visitors spectacular interactive exhibits which will offer a better understanding of the environment as well as educate on the importance of biodiversity, ecosystems, and to encourage conservation, preservation and restoration.
Features of the Center include an exhibit hall, multi-purpose classrooms, science labs, dioramas, and a 160-seat theater. There will also be live exhibits of bees, snakes and turtles such as a gopher tortoise burrow that students can crawl through. Unlike museum collections, visitors can touch and climb on these displays; and some produce cause-and-effect situations that show the impact man has on the environment.
Students will be able to view an extensive exhibit on pollinators, with live bees. A video shows the “waggle dance” that illustrates how bees communicate. A model of the food web will demonstrate how it collapses when a producer is removed.
Activities also include examining aquatic insects and ﬁsh, studying different restoration methods, and monitoring amphibians and songbirds.
In addition, visitors to the Center will have an opportunity to learn about the natural environment both indoors and outside along an extensive trail system .9-mile long, with a 610 ft. boardwalk that crosses through a hardwood swamp, and around a beaver pond.
The project was started in May of 2008. pv+r, llc are project designers/project leads and Wallrap Architecture and Interior Design of Tampa, the architect. Synergy Inc. of Tallahassee helped create the design of the exhibits and Peter Brown Construction, the general contractor. Christina Scally is the Center’s Director.
The Center is named after world-renowned scientist Dr. Edward O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University, for his life-long contributions to public education about the importance of conserving the world’s biodiversity. The two-time Pulitzer prize winner developed “biophilia – the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life.”
The Center will be the location of the Nov. 5 Tourist Development Council’s Environmental Forum slated for November 5.
The E. O. Wilson Biophilia Center is on the south side of Highway 20 between Freeport and Bruce, approximately 4 miles east of Highway 331.
For more information about the Center go to: http://www.eowilsoncenter.org/