The Wilds is adding a new facility to its 10,000 acres of land. It held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of its brand new Conservation Science Training Center.
"There isn’t anything like this where you have land restoration and wildlife restoration. It really not only touches this unique spot on the globe in southeast Ohio, but almost every country in the world has problems with the wildlife coming back and with their land that’s being destroyed, " says Hocking College Senior Vice President, Roy Palmer.
Thanks to funding from several donors and patrons, the dream to build this new center became a reality.
"The idea we’re on a living roof with incredible insulation qualities. It’s all going to be a specimen garden for our scientific work. It’s built into a hillside. It’s really well done in terms of geothermal heating and energy efficiency, with all the latest and greatest bells and whistles, " says The Wilds Executive Director, Dr. Evan Blumer.
The Wilds’ staff is hoping this center can enrich and further students’ education.
"We have active research through intern, undergraduate mentoring programs with Muskingum University, a steady stream of graduate students, " says Conservation Science Training Center Director, Christina Kugler.
The center has the tools and equipment to help continue with incoming research.
"This building will be strictly devoted to classroom space or for corporate retreats, that type of thing for folks who really want to come and do this immersive, personal experience and engage with nature, " says Kugler.
It’s research that attracts nature enthusiasts from across the country.
"Ecological research of all sorts. All sorts of different wildlife, birds, reptiles, amphibians. Ecosystems in and of itself. We have a really strong program area in restoration ecology, which is all about those systems in general, " says Kugler.
In addition to the center, there are also two cabins up the hill to lodge those conducting research.
"Where we can stay over and have extended stays so that travel back and forth isn’t as long as it used to be, " says Palmer.
There’s also a site planned to build 10 more of those cabins to store more people. It’s all part of the wilds’ mission.
"To advance conservation through science, education, and personal experience, " says Blumer.
The Conservation Science Training Center serves Ohio’s 29 Appalachian counties along with more than 100 colleges and universities.