New Enviro Ed Center Crowning Piece of Green Lakes Park Improvements

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Former boathouse becomes new Environmental Education center
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

Visitors to Green Lakes State Park are now able to see how the former boathouse has been transformed into an Environmental Educaiton Center, as part of millions of dollars poured into park renovations.  State and local officials were joined Friday by Salem Hyde school students to help cut the ribbon.

You might have seen evidence of the 13 million dollars the state poured into Green Lakes State Park.  Protecting the park itself was one of the key goals.  Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey explains water runoff that was fouling the pristine lakes has been diverted.

Upgrading the waterfront was also part of the park renovations
Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

“Ensuring we were protecting the sustainability of the natural area and the recreational area of this park.  So it’s kind of fitting that this Environmental Education Center is a capstone

Some of the more obvious renovations included golf course-, camping-, and bathroom improvements … and a rebuilt restaurant, bar and terrace.  Former SUNY ESF President Neil Murphy helped the project through … He’s excited about the experience for children

“It results in increased self-esteem, elevation of one’s mood, reduces anger, improves psychological well-being, positive impacts on cognitive function, and extraordinary social benefits.  To have these young people have that immersion experience in nature is without parallel.”

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News

And kids can be pretty enthusiastic in nature.  Students from Salem Hyde school were on hand and shared how much they like the trails, the beach, the view from the center, and of course the beautiful lakes. 

Part of the investment by the state includes funding for free transportation and programming for underprivileged schools. 

Environmental Educator Katie Mulverhill will run programs at the environmental center to teach about the wildlife, stewardship of nature, and the unique lakes

“We’re going to be really working to get all the schools, especially from Syracuse, to come out here and tie-in the field-trip curriculum with their science curriculum so that it really helps the teachers.  You know, some things you can’t teach really well in a classroom but if you come here, it teaches itself.” 

The Green Lakes park renovations are part of the Parks 2020 program investing up to 900 million dollars in state parts …which last year Harvey says, drew 71 million users boosting local economies.