Park Rangers, Managers, and Volunteers from Sandy Point State Park gathered around this past Memorial Day to eagerly celebrate the opening of their new Nature Center. About a year ago Ranger Kenny Hartman had a vision for Sandy Point State Park. He pictured a larger much improved Nature Center in hopes of educating the community about the numerous benefits provided by Sandy Point State Park. Not only does the 786-acre park provide the citizens with breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay, they also offer many fun filled actives as well as educational opportunities.
Approximately two years ago the “Nature Corner” was created by Sandy Point State Park. It was a smaller room with a decent view of the Chesapeake Bay. The Nature Corner was furnished with various educational displays to help teach both children and adults about the Bay and surrounding areas. Park officials immediately recognized the value this asset contributed to the state.
Rangers, as well as Volunteers of the Park share a great passion for working with the children from local schools in Maryland. They believe the Nature Center will act as the perfect starting point for educational programs hosted by the park. In addition, the park staff is organizing outreach programs to accommodate schools who cannot get funding for field trips. Rangers and Volunteers will visit the schools with live animals on display to express the importance of nature. Sara Marcinak says, “Theses animals are a great way to teach people, especially children, about the ethics of Leave No Trace.” Rangers, Volunteers, and Seasonal Naturalists, will direct these programs plus manage the Nature Center from April –September. They are currently recruiting Volunteers for the off-season which runs from October-March.
The newly renovated Nature Center is located in the heart of Sandy Point State Park. At one point in history this structure served as the operational house for Park Rangers. In order to construct the Nature Center the park staff had to work with a small budget. They are currently relying heavily on donations for displays and animals, either live or stuffed. A minimal amount of funds was used from the gift shop, park’s operation budget, and service charges, to purchase a small amount of inventory. The staff of Sandy Point looks forward to working with the community in order to make the Nature Center grow.
The Nature Center has a truly unique design. The main floor of the building is a display area where families, friends, schools, and organizations, can visit during park operational hours. The Ranger’s office is located on the second floor. The strategic placement of their office makes it convenient for Rangers to interact with all visitors. Future plans for the Nature Center include a children’s craft area, a butterfly and bird viewing window, and a small gift shop. A rain garden and wetland area is forecasted to be designed and planted by summer 2012.
For volunteer opportunities please contact the park’s volunteer coordinator Alison Woodfield at Sandy Point State Park headquarters at 410-974-2149 or by email to email@example.com