The Wetland Center is launching a capital campaign to raise $250,000 to reach our $650,000 goal to expand our facilities by the summer of 2021. Since 2018 we raised over $400,000 from 10 private foundations and companies. Our greatest need before the COVID crisis was to double student capacity from 60 to 120 students per day. NOW with the COVID crisis we have a GREATER need to increase our space to safely welcome 50 students a day in a safe socially spaced environment. Please support our capital campaign to increase conservation literacy and prepare our organization to be THE prime outdoor destination and environmental education center in North Texas.
"Beautiful Wetland Park 25 miles southeast of Dallas is a social distance dream."
Stacy Breen, Dallas Culture Map, August 2020
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Environmental Education at Risk
According to a 2020 policy brief A Field at Risk: The Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental and Outdoor Science Education by the University of California Berkley, the Environmental Education field is as risk. Environmental and outdoor science organizations are an essential and irreplaceable part of the nation’s larger educational system. JBS and other organizations face devastating losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our field therefore needs targeted, coordinated, and systemic financial support to mitigate the impact of this crisis. Paradoxically, despite its human horrors, COVID-19 shines a light on the value of outdoor education to our society. By connecting schools with the Wetland Center and other outdoor learning sites, we can ensure that all learners have access to these memorable places and experiences. These organizations offer solutions to seemingly insoluble challenges faced by schools seeking models to equitably reopen. Organizations like the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center must have a seat at the table alongside other elements of the U.S. educational system when local, state, and federal conversations occur about funding priorities, health policies, and guidelines for social distancing in education. By acting now, we have a chance to ensure the benefits of environmental and outdoor science education for all.
Need for Growth
In 2017, the John Bunker Sands Wetland Center board of directors, staff and stakeholders conducted a strategic planning process to identify the physical, operational, and programmatic near-term needs of the Center. The configuration of our current facility was identified as a limiting factor. Large school groups plan programming over multiple days since we can only accommodate up to 60 students at a time. Your support would secure our future growth to expanding our facilities to accommodate a safe number of students during the COVID crisis and double capacity and accommodate up to 120 students daily once we return to normal operations. JBSWC provides innovative and successful programs focuses on conservation literacy of water, wetlands, and wildlife. Our core students are from underserved populations, high schools, and universities throughout the Dallas Metroplex. Our programs are conducted in the middle of the East Fork Water Reuse Project which filters 50 million gallons of water each day then is pumped back to the reservoir of origin for future human consumption. This water filtration system provides 20 percent of the total water used by the North Texas population. This closed loop urban water cycle has been the laboratory of education and research programs since 2010 reaching over 4,000 students and 2,500 adults annually, with over 50 percent of participants being direct recipients of the recycled water. By 2021, our goal is to double student capacity and provide enhanced environmental programming. By planning and promoting increased conservation literacy to more students, we will have a measurable and profound impact on conservation behavioral changes resulting in sustaining water resources and protecting habitat in the Trinity River Watershed.
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Facility Expansion and Green Building Targets
We have engaged with Good Fulton and Ferrell (GFF Architects), the original architect of the Center, to design our expansion to blend in with the current facilities and occupying the least amount of land while doubling visitor capacity.
Our 5,700-foot expansion will include:
• 2 enclosed smart technology classrooms 1,400 square feet
• 1 enclosed restroom/storage structure, 700 square feet
• 1 flexible outdoor amphitheater and terrace, 2,500 square feet
• 1 flexible outdoor stage/classroom, 900 square feet
Green Building Components:
• Low emissivity double pane windows to reduce energy consumption
• Operable windows to allow fresh air during the spring and summer months
• Low water consumption plumbing fixtures, 1.3-gallon flush, motion sensitive sinks
• HVAC equipment with SEER rating of 15 or higher
• Each new enclosed space will have separate HVAC controls for group adjustments
• Use of prefabricated grain silos for classrooms and restroom to reduce building expense and blend into historic uses of ranch/wetland
• Shading at the silo classrooms’ south and west exposures to limit summer exposure and maximize winter exposure
• Drought tolerant native landscaping
• Sanitary discharge treatment and dispersal back into surrounding landscape
• Bio-swale positioning around parking area to reduce storm runoff
Green Building Targets:
• Facility construction to start by October 2020, completion by April 2021
• Budget $650,000 Raised to Date: $430,000 Needed to Raise: $220,000
• COVID Student Numbers – 48 students a day – 4,000 students per year
o Social Spacing, CDC Guidelines, Staff/Volunteers/Teachers Safety Training
• Post COVID Student Numbers – 120 students a day – 10,000 students per year
• Special Event and Wedding rentals available in summer 2021
• 10 additional volunteers recruited and trained by March 2021 for increased visitors
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