Students and community members welcomed a new outdoor classroom at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, after a ribbon cutting ceremony that marked the official opening of the outdoor pavilion Oct. 14.
“The city did a small part, but I’m proud to say we had a part in this,” District 3 Councilwoman Jennifer Ramos said. “This is a community facility where so many kids come in every day of the week for educational opportunities in an outdoor presentation.”
The opening of the outdoor classroom is the latest development and improvement for the center, a 1200-acre natural area which is maintained and supported through a partnership between Audubon Texas, San Antonio Water System and a taskforce who have contributed to the preservation of the 600-acre Mitchell Lake and the surrounding areas that support wildlife habitat.
About 40 community members sat on the wooden benches and stood along the back wall of the covered outdoor classroom as officials cut the ribbon.
“We’re really excited,” Bob Benson, executive director for Audubon Texas, said. “It’s a collaboration and partnership between the city and SAWS and others to provide a useful and practical structure for educational and community programming. We feel it’s a real win for the city of San Antonio.”
The open air classroom seats about 80 and also provides restroom facilities and storage for the center, which hosts award-winning educational programs for students and community members year around.
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center Director Susan Albert said about 4,500 students participate in educational programs at the center along with numerous community members who attend family events.
The facility provides an opportunity for children to get outdoors as well as take advantage of learning opportunities, said Melissa Adams, Myra Stafford Pryor Trust Frost Bank trustee.
The center boasts award-winning staff members including Education Manager Michelle Eckman, who this year won the Tamar Chotzen Educator of the Year Award.
The area surrounding the classroom was recently seeded with native grasses and wildflowers in keeping with the Audubon’s mission, said Patty Pasztor, member of Bexar Audubon Society and center landscape committee. “Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.”
The 1,200 square foot facility was designed by Overland Partners and constructed by Browning Construction and was made possible by donations from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the Myra Stafford Pryor Trust, the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Water System, Bexar Audubon Society, Ruth Lofgren, Mitchell Lake Wetlands Society.
The center’s Fall Wildlife Festival is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. The event is free. Activities include a Raptor show, plant sale, educational exhibits, hayrides and a native plant walk. The center is located at 10750 Pleasanton Road.
For more information about the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and upcoming events visit http://www.tx.audubon.org/Mitchell.html.