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Nature Center Repairs In The Works

Posted in: Sandwich News, Top Stories
Sep 5, 2008 - 12:59:14 PM
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SANDWICH- With the new education building at Green Briar Nature Center now complete, Gene A. Schott, executive director of the center, said he is now in the middle of the second phase of the organization’s capital campaign to raise money to address some overdue maintenance work at the original building on the site.
Mr. Schott said he is now in the process of applying for grants that will pay for painting, carpentry work, and the replacement of several windows in the jam kitchen and other parts of the historic building.
He said that replacing the windows in the older part of the building, which was built in 1780, requires removing the panes of glass and placing them in new wooden frames; the work carries a high price tag. Beyond that work, he said the building is in need of a new paint job, which he estimated would cost $15,000. He explained that as carpenters were assessing the work that needed to be done, some wood rot was discovered and that, too, will have to be addressed.
“We’ve already spent $60,000 and completed some of the projects planned for the second phase,” he said. Finishing a brick walk between the new building and the older building and expanding exhibits have already been completed.
Mr. Schott said that another $75,000 still needs to be raised to complete this phase of the campaign. He said he is hoping to raise the money through grants, donations, pledges, and membership fees.  
Mr. Schott said the decision to build the new facility at the center was a wise one and this summer marked the first year that the new building was open for the entire season.  
And it proved to be a very busy season.
“Business was very good this summer.  Every one of the events seemed to be much more successful. Sales were up in the jam kitchen and gift shop. That’s saying a lot in a down economy,” Mr. Schott stated.
For the first time, he said, an endowment fund has been created, and there is about $250,000 in that account. The money will be used for the upkeep of the wildflower garden, as well as general support.  However, he said he would like to see the endowment fund built up to about $1 million, explaining that the money will also be used for upkeep of the new building facility.  
At just under 2,000 square feet, the new facility, Mr. Schott said, is just the right size to meet the needs of the nature center and yet is still affordable to operate. “When we planned the new building, we wanted something we could afford to maintain and was within the operating costs we could afford to pay.  
In addition to being affordable, he said it was equally important that the new building not detract from the natural beauty that draws people to the center each year. “We wanted to spruce up and expand just enough but we wanted the center to remain the sleepy institution that it is,” he said.
With the summer season just about over, Mr. Schott said September will prove to be a busy time with the upcoming Bird Carvers Show scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday from 10 AM until 4 PM. Admission is $3 for members and $5 for nonmembers.
The center’s Cranberry Festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 27, from 10 AM to 4 PM, and admission is by donation.
He said the biggest fundraiser, Cool Nights, Hot Jazz is scheduled for Saturday, September 21. The event will be held from 5 until 8 PM at the Sunset Grille on MacArthur Boulevard in Bourne and includes a night of cabaret music, international hors d’oeuvres, and a live auction. Tickets for the event cost $50 per person, and all proceeds will go to the educational programs at Green Briar.
For more information on any of these events or to make a donation or purchase tickets to the Cool Nights Hot Jazz event, call the center at 508-888-6870.