McKinney, TX (December 9, 2011) - The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation has awarded a grant in the amount of $20,000 to the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary. These funds are designated for capital support toward the construction of a Forest Experience Pavilion. This grant highlights the importance of the role that private philanthropy plays in meeting community needs.
Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary exists to bring people and nature together. Through education, particularly for young people, The Heard emphasizes an appreciation of nature and its conservation. To further this mission of nature education, The Heard will create a series of satellite outdoor classrooms, called "Experience Pavilions," in key locations within The Heard's 289 acre property.
The funds provided by the Carl B. and Florence E. King foundation will be used to build the Forest Experience Pavilion. Influenced by vernacular architecture, this structure will provide an authentic environment for children to learn about nature. "Vernacular architecture" is a term used to categorize methods of construction that use locally available resources and traditions to address local needs and circumstances. In sum, this structure will be built in a method inspired and influenced by its location, and its form will follow function.
This structure will allow the participants in our educational science and nature programs to be simultaneously separated (providing protection from the elements), yet immersed in nature. As a result, our visitors' education experience will not be wholly controlled by adverse weather conditions. Currently, when there is the chance of inclement weather, it may be necessary to reschedule or cancel certain education programs. This pavilion will make it possible for students to have shelter in the midst of our nature sanctuary.
The Forest Experience Pavilion, conceptualized by Jim Wilson Architects, will be equipped with ample observation areas and decking, yet will provide coverage in case of inclement conditions. Additionally, this design features a gently sloped, spiraling ramp around the structure, which further enhances the available space for visitors to stop and observe nature.
By constructing any new buildings at The Heard through sustainable practices and locally sourced materials, we exemplify our mission by providing an excellent teaching opportunity for the public to passively and actively learn how to adapt conservation into their everyday life. Interpretive signage will be incorporated, as well, to further this message. If your organization would also like to contribute funding or pro bono services to this project, please contact The Heard's executive director, Sy Shahid, at email@example.com.