Fontenelle Forest held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday to commemorate the start of construction on a new addition to the Nature Center. The $2 million expansion, the Raptor Woodland Refuge, will provide visitors an opportunity to see and learn about raptors.
Raptor Woodland Refuge, which will be open all year, will provide an opportunity for the public to view nearly two dozen birds of prey in a unique outdoor setting. Species on display will include bald and golden eagles, six species of owls, five species of hawks and more.
The birds will be housed in a variety of distinctive treehouse-like mews, including several amongst the treetops on a suspended walkway high above the forest floor.
“Showcasing birds of prey, Raptor Woodland Refuge will be a prized asset of Fontenelle Forest,” said Laura Shiffermiller, the forest’s executive director. “It enables us to increase mission service in regard to community access, conservation of native animal species, public education, and school programming.”
The project was made possible by a generous lead gift from Susan and George Haddix. Other major donors include Gerry and Bruce Lauritzen, the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation, and Betsy and Doug Finch.
Raptor Woodland Refuge will open to the public in the fall.