There’s good news brewing over at Tifft Nature Preserve. Yesterday, the City of Buffalo Planning Board approved plans for the expansion of the facility at Tifft. According to Lauren Makeyenko, Experience Manager at Tifft, “A timeline will be put into place for construction once the necessary permits are in place. The final design may change aesthetically as construction progresses and budgets are assessed. The existing structures in the renderings are the ones with solar panels on the rooftops. The new space will allow us to fulfill our mission of Valuing Nature’s Wisdom and better serve the public. Currently, due to space limitations, we are turning people away for requested programming almost on a daily basis. We are very excited for the possibilities the new space will allow for us!”
In a 2011 Buffalo Rising article, the need for additional space to accommodate programming was apparent:
The current structure on the site is thirty years old and has been already been expanded twice, but cannot keep up with demand. The Sustainability Center functions as a visitor and education center for the Tifft Nature Preserve which is located on a 264-acre nature refuge dedicated to conservation and environmental education.
As public interest and visitors have increased, the building can no longer support the demand being placed on it. The proposed building expansion would include new educational rooms, offices, a wet lab, presentation room, rental space, etc. Upgrades for improving accessibility, safety, and energy efficiency are also needed.
Keeping in mind the importance of environmental protection, the expansion will utilize “green” building techniques and materials. By building “green” the facility will be more energy efficient and be less dependent on the use of gas and electricity. In order to accomplish this goal the new construction will incorporate alternative energy options like solar panels and wind power.
The Sustainability Center will continue to serve as a hub for environmental education in not only Buffalo, but the region as a whole. The Nature Preserve promotes ecotourism and serves as an educational model for restoring a former brownfield site to beautiful and natural wetland ecosystem.
Since that time Tifft (operated by the Museum of Science) has set out to incorporate green practices into its existing facility (see here), while continuing on with crucial environmental programming. This expansion is a game changer for the nature center.