Friday, April 24, 2009

Lake Solano nature center extols area resources

Lake Solano nature center extols area resources
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | April 23, 2009

Antoinette Potier, 5, of Dixon, reaches for a rainbow trout in one of the new 400 gallon viewing tanks during the grand opening of the new nature center at Lake Solano Regional Park Wednesday. Photo by Mike Greener

WINTERS - Retired Solano County parks ranger Duane Davis has waited since the mid-1980s for the day Solano County would open a nature center at one of its parks.

The idea is to educate the public about the area's resources and get people interested, Davis said. That helps ensure the future of the region's parks.

After a couple of failed attempts in the past 25 years, the county finally has a nature center at Lake Solano Regional Park. Davis attended the dedication ceremony Wednesday and was amazed by the 5,000-square-foot center built with glass, metal and stucco. The project cost $2.8 million.

'I never believed it would be to this magnitude,' said Davis, who retired last summer after 35 years with the county.

Visitors can come to the center and see small aquariums containing the aquatic snail and giant water bug. There are also three 450-gallon aquariums with catfish and small-mouth bass.

Another exhibit explores wetlands, asking such questions as why wetlands are like Egg Beaters. The answer: Wetlands mix nutrients and oxygen into water.

The nature center also contains meeting space, an outdoor education area and ranger offices. About 100 people came to the center on a hot Wednesday afternoon for the dedication.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.