Imagine – a dedicated gathering space for people of all ages and abilities to celebrate nature and leave inspired to help conserve it.
That’s exactly what the Land Trust of North Alabama hopes to create with its proposal for a Nature Discovery Center at Monte Sano Nature Preserve. With Huntsville’s population growing rapidly, Executive Director Marie Bostick said it’s more important than ever for residents to be aware of the benefits of our natural world.
“We must grow alongside our community and we can’t do that without introducing more people to the value of our cause,” she said. “By spending time in nature, people understand the need to save it.”
Nature Discovery Center
The Center, which would be open to the public at no charge, would allow the nonprofit to improve educational programming, offer more opportunities to explore, and increase access to nature for children and adults.
The project will need buy-in from the community, which is why the Land Trust is asking residents to weigh in by taking an online survey.
“Everything we do requires support from our members and partners so we want to make sure the Nature Discovery Center addresses our community vision as much as possible,” Bostick said. “The survey results will be used to help determine the viability of the project and a path for moving forward.”
If the Land Trust does move forward with the concept, the organization will begin a fundraising campaign to raise the amount needed. Leadership is working with Nola | VanPeursem Architects to determine the estimated costs of the Center.
The site would be situated on Monte Sano Nature Preserve near the corner of Bankhead Parkway and Toll Gate Road. Land Trust officials said this area as an ideal spot because it is centrally located and also overrun with Japanese honeysuckle and other invasive species that make it difficult for native trees and other plants to regenerate.
By launching the Nature Discovery Center there, the Land Trust said it will “revitalize the surrounding area by removing substantial amounts of invasive species and restoring native flora so it can once again flourish.”
Designed to impact the terrain as little as possible and blend into the natural surroundings, the facility would include a flexible learning space and classrooms featuring indoor/outdoor flow. An exhibit space would invite visitors to gather information about trails on Land Trust nature preserves and around the area and discover more about North Alabama’s unique natural world.
The location would also serve as an additional trailhead with parking for a popular area of the nature preserve.
“Through all of this, we can expand awareness of North Alabama’s unique natural world and the Land Trust’s role in protecting it,” Bostick said.
Use your voice
“This project is dependent on having significant support from our community,” Bostick said. “That’s why it’s so critical that we gather feedback through the survey from as broad an audience as possible.”
Those interested may also share thoughts or ask questions by calling 256-534-5263 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.