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Wetlands preserve opening at GSU Wildlife Center
Wildlife Center signage

Grand opening schedule

3 p.m. – Center opens
3:15 p.m., 5:45 p.m. – Behind-the-scene tours
5 p.m., 6:15 p.m. – Wildlife program
4 p.m., 5:45 p.m. –  Lecture, tour of the new indoor Frog Exhibit
3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. –  Wetland preserve tour and feed the ducks activity

    Georgia Southern University’s Center for Wildlife Education and the Lamar Q Ball, Jr. Raptor Center will celebrate the grand opening of the center’s Wetland Preserve on Saturday. An afternoon of free festivities for the public begins at 3 p.m. and runs until 7 p.m.
    The Wetland Preserve is a 12-acre expansion of the center, which is located on Forest Drive in the heart of the GSU campus. The preserve includes a small pond that houses a beaver lodge, a cypress pond that is home to a variety of wading birds, like herons and egrets, and a waterfowl pond.
    “This expansion means we now have 17 acres, which is very large when you think of a university center, especially one that sits right in the middle of campus,” said center director Steve Hein. “I think the expansion raises not only the center but the university to a higher level. This truly makes this a preeminent environmental center not only within the state but within the southeast.”
    The Wildlife Center will not open on Saturday until 3 p.m. Grand opening events include behind-the-scene tours at 3:15 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., an outdoor classroom wildlife program at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., and a lecture and tour of the new indoor Frog Exhibit, hosted by John Jensen, at 4 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
    A wetland preserve tour and feed the ducks activity at the waterfowl pond will take place at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Other activities include crafts, scavenger hunts, geocaching and wetland conservation experiments in the new outdoor classroom.
    “While visitors will now have the chance to see even more species of wildlife at the center, the real function and purpose behind the expansion and the creation of the wetland preserve is to educate visitors about water and the impact it has on all life,” Hein said. “Visitors will see firsthand how water—or the lack of it—affects ecosystems and the dramatic impact it has on the wildlife who live in those ecosystems.”
    Beginning Monday, the center will begin charging an admission fee to help maintain the center and care for the expanded collection, officials said. Adult admission will be $2, children age 3-11, active military with I.D. and senior citizens will be $1. Admission is free for children under 3 and university faculty, staff and students (all with I.D.). Annual, unlimited admission passes are $8 for adults and $6 for children ages 3-11, active military with I.D. and senior citizens.

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