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Cedar River Watershed Education Center is dedicated on October 2, 2001.
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On October 2, 2001, the Cedar River Watershed Education Center is dedicated at the entrance to the watershed overlooking Rattlesnake Lake. The $6.8 million education center is intended to serve 30,000 school children annually as well as other visitors interested in watershed education and environmental stewardship.
Center of Attention
Funding for the Center came from the City of Seattle and the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed (FCRW), a private, non-profit organization incorporated in 1996 and dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the watershed. At the time of the dedication, FCRW had raised $1 million in private donations with a goal of raising another $1 million.
The Center complex comprises five buildings linked by covered walkways with roofs of sod.
- The Interpretive Hall houses interpretive exhibits that tell the story of the 90,500-acre watershed that supplies two-thirds of the area's drinking water. At the time of dedication, some exhibits were still awaiting installation, but when complete they will help visitors understand the area's water supply, forests, and wildlife.
- The Learning Laboratory provides hands-on, interactive exhibits for students, teachers, and families. Children are able to collect and analyze water samples and raise juvenile salmon, among other activities.
- The Conference Center hosts school groups, non-profit groups, and research scientists. It will provide a setting for conferences and professional meetings.
- The Heritage Library contains the collected artifacts of more than 9,000 years of human activity in the watershed, and helps visitors understand the watershed's cultural and natural history.
- The Forest Court contains native plants and a flowing stream, and mirrors the biodiversity of the watershed.
Rain Drums and Root Balls
Local artist Dan Corson provided special touches to the center. In the Forest Court, Corson arranged a ring of drums which sound when hit by rain. The drum heads are slanted so the runoff then waters the plants.
On rainless days, calibrated water droplets play on the drumheads via a computerized irrigation system. Thin pipes hidden in the foliage send droplets to each drum in syncopation, and can be programmed to play a variety of international rhythms.
Corson also created hanging sculptures made out of root balls dug from the watershed. The clusters were cleaned and fumigated, then interlaced with strands of neon that mimic the flow of water.
Speakers and Friends
More than 100 people attended the dedication under the cover of a clear blue sky. Seattle Mayor Paul Schell was the main speaker at the event, and other speakers included Seattle City Council President Margaret Pageler, FCRW President Yvette Maestas, Seattle Public Utilities Director Diana Gale, and Jim Ellis, co-founder of the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. Snoqualmie Tribal Council Member Ray Mullen and other members of the tribe gave welcoming invocations.
Architecture and landscaping for the Cedar River Watershed Education Center were created through Seattle-based Jones and Jones Architects. All exhibits and educational materials are expected to be in place by 2002.
Information provided by Seattle Public Utilities and the Friends of the Cedar River Watershed.
Travel through time (chronological order):
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