You may have heard that the Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) has devoted ourselves to engaging a new architect team, created a new website and brand, and designed a new plan for for a private fundraising effort for our project to establish the Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center near Ellensburg, WA.

 

We are now ready to ask you to join us on this journey to connect our community to nature and to bring nature-based education to learners of all  ages.

 

Hundreds of KEEN volunteers have worked dilligently over the past ten years to restore habitat, improve public access, and raise awareness of Helen McCabe Park.  In addition, we have tried to build on Dr. Helen McCabe’s intial endeavors to get people outside and increase ecological literacy in the Kitittas Valley.

 

Why have we done all this? Because we believe in the power of connecting our community to nature – we encourage people to see themselves as part of a diverse network of nature enthusiasts and to change behaviors based on respect for and understanding of our surroundings. An interpretive center is an excellent way to focus learning, strengthen connections to nature, and create an ecologically literate public.  We believe there is no substitute for being in nature and that frequent experiences in nature are critical to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of all people. Thus our programming for the Center is focused on engaging all the senses and integrating the park into learning experiences.

 

These beliefs lead us to behave in certain ways – chief among those is a commitment to providing a place, a Center, where we can immerse people in nature through a variety of individual and group activities. A place where we can foster an ethic of influence by providing opportunities for people to act on their positive values toward nature through learning, sharing with others, volunteer service, and ultimately social change. 

 

The new team that KEEN has brought together to move the project forward includes a new architect, landscape architect, and construction leader who are personally and professionally very passionate about the Center. Marc Brown Design, John Barker Landscape Architects and John Blackham with Krekow-Jennings have been welcomed into the KEEN family. The team will work to integrate the Center into Helen McCabe Park - all the while using sustainable materials and practices. More details will follow as we enter into this new phase of Connecting our Community to Nature but KEEN’s board feels very strongly that Marc Brown and his team will bring a unique vision to the project.

 

Our full goal for construction and establishing an operating endowment for the Center is $2.5 million and we hope to be open by spring 2019. We are now seeking donors who are visionaries. Donors who may want to establish the center in the name of a remembered loved one or as part of their vision for connecting to sense of place. We hope you are one such visionary who desires to leave a legacy for generations to come.

 

The goals in front of us are large, and on some days seem quite intimidating. But KEEN’s passion for nature-based education is stronger than ever – and we believe the Center will be a place of learning, engaging, and connecting to nature for visitors and community members alike.

 

We hope that you might be interested in a legacy naming opportunity. We would like to invite you to join us and engage with us on the project design early in the process. If this is still of interest, we’d appreciate the opportunity to talk more with you and  introduce you to Marc and his team as we embark on a new design.

 

On behalf of the KEEN Board of Directors, I’d like to thank you for your consideration and would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. I can be reached at 509-551-8807 or via email at kittitasee@gmail.com.

We live during perhaps the largest extinction event in natural history. Certainly, we are fueling the largest Holocaust since the Great Extinction wiped out dinosaurs, marine reptiles, ammonites, and more during the end of the Cretaceous Period. Evolutionary forces cannot keep pace with the changes we have wrought on the landscape, and pieces of the plane’s jigsaw puzzle are mysteriously vanishing daily. The web of life is unraveling: frogs dropping out of pristine ecosystems, large mammals in decline in many locations, coral reefs being dissembled and sold to collectors, white-tailed deer removing wildflower populations from Pennsylvania sanctuaries, the Amazon again set ablaze to produce more of those damn cows.

But the nature center movement must organize itself to become recognized and treasured for the One Big Thing it does that a zoo does not it preserves a precious piece of habitat, serves as an island of green in a sea of McAsphalt. That first nature center I worked at in central Jersey was surrounded on three sides by development, the fourth by a four-lane, concrete-barrier highway. To a migrating songbird, that park’s emerald canopy was a welcome neon sign; to resident birds, one of the few habitats left. As the suburbanization of America transforms everywhere into Nowhere so that Denver, Miami and Albuquerque all look just like, well, Jersey, as beige stucco townhouses advance like slime mold across the width and breadth of America, the preservation of a hunk of diversity embedded in a sliver of habitat will emerge as perhaps the largest contribution of nature centers to environmental quality.

You may have heard that the Kittitas Environmental Education Network (KEEN) has devoted ourselves to engaging a new architect team, created a new website and brand, and designed a new plan for for a private fundraising effort for our project to establish the Yakima Canyon Interpretive Center near Ellensburg, WA.

 

We are now ready to ask you to join us on this journey to connect our community to nature and to bring nature-based education to learners of all  ages.

 

Hundreds of KEEN volunteers have worked dilligently over the past ten years to restore habitat, improve public access, and raise awareness of Helen McCabe Park.  In addition, we have tried to build on Dr. Helen McCabe’s intial endeavors to get people outside and increase ecological literacy in the Kitittas Valley.

 

Why have we done all this? Because we believe in the power of connecting our community to nature – we encourage people to see themselves as part of a diverse network of nature enthusiasts and to change behaviors based on respect for and understanding of our surroundings. An interpretive center is an excellent way to focus learning, strengthen connections to nature, and create an ecologically literate public.  We believe there is no substitute for being in nature and that frequent experiences in nature are critical to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of all people. Thus our programming for the Center is focused on engaging all the senses and integrating the park into learning experiences.

 

These beliefs lead us to behave in certain ways – chief among those is a commitment to providing a place, a Center, where we can immerse people in nature through a variety of individual and group activities. A place where we can foster an ethic of influence by providing opportunities for people to act on their positive values toward nature through learning, sharing with others, volunteer service, and ultimately social change. 

 

The new team that KEEN has brought together to move the project forward includes a new architect, landscape architect, and construction leader who are personally and professionally very passionate about the Center. Marc Brown Design, John Barker Landscape Architects and John Blackham with Krekow-Jennings have been welcomed into the KEEN family. The team will work to integrate the Center into Helen McCabe Park - all the while using sustainable materials and practices. More details will follow as we enter into this new phase of Connecting our Community to Nature but KEEN’s board feels very strongly that Marc Brown and his team will bring a unique vision to the project.

 

Our full goal for construction and establishing an operating endowment for the Center is $2.5 million and we hope to be open by spring 2019. We are now seeking donors who are visionaries. Donors who may want to establish the center in the name of a remembered loved one or as part of their vision for connecting to sense of place. We hope you are one such visionary who desires to leave a legacy for generations to come.

 

The goals in front of us are large, and on some days seem quite intimidating. But KEEN’s passion for nature-based education is stronger than ever – and we believe the Center will be a place of learning, engaging, and connecting to nature for visitors and community members alike.

 

We hope that you might be interested in a legacy naming opportunity. We would like to invite you to join us and engage with us on the project design early in the process. If this is still of interest, we’d appreciate the opportunity to talk more with you and  introduce you to Marc and his team as we embark on a new design.

 

On behalf of the KEEN Board of Directors, I’d like to thank you for your consideration and would be pleased to answer any questions you may have. I can be reached at 509-551-8807 or via email at kittitasee@gmail.com.

Fostering a Sense of Place - The Endangered Shrub-Steppe

Mailing Address

414 South Willow Street

Ellensburg, WA 98926

kittitasee@ycic.org 

509-551-8807

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