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Fernwood Botanical Garden breaks ground on new education center

NILES, MI— After three years of planning, the Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve kicked off construction on its new Education Center.

On Thursday, Fernwood broke ground on the 5,500 square-foot, $200 million Center.

It will double as Fernwood’s teaching and learning space and allow the preserve to serve larger groups.

“Today begins the next step in Fernwood’s history of sharing environmental education with more students, offering more lifelong education classes, and further deepening respect within our region for the interdependent roles that land, plants, and animals play in sustaining daily life,” stated Carol Line, Fernwood Executive Director.

Once it is completed, the building will be able to accommodate up to 400 people, more than doubling its current capacity of 72 individuals.

It will be made up of two distinct wings. One wing will feature bird-viewing areas that overlook the wooded grounds.

The facility has a sustainable design, including a green roof covering 25 percent of the center. The roof can help protect the ecosystems throughout the gardens.

“This expansion is built on Fernwood’s environmental education expertise and is an extension of the work it has done for more than 50 years,” stated Mary Keefe, Fernwood board chair.

All of the money for this project was raised through a complex fundraising campaign that has already brought in 3.2 million dollars.

Fernwood expects construction to be finished by late 2018.

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