MASSENA -- Robert Moses State Park Nature Center fans are invited to their temporary location at Barnhart Beach, within the park, after a fire four months ago ruined their previous quarters in the park.
Museum exhibits, classroom and gift shop are in the middle building at the beach.
Many familiar items can be seen but the popular live bird exhibits could not be moved there.
Friend's Group President Rick Marshall said "Axel the parrot and the other birds could not be placed at this building because there is no heat or regulation of humidity. They are still in foster care and doing fine. We are working on our website and hope to have a regular live cam program in the near future, so visitors can see Axel at her new home."
Some new aquariums were recently purchased and soon Iggy the Iguana, the fish and turtles will be moved for the summer.
"We were afraid the Nature DayCamps would have to be canceled for this summer", stated Friend's Group Vice President Miriam Morrow. "Recreation staff was cut by the region due to budget issues and Nature Center staff will have to fill those gaps. Together, the Friends and Nature Center are are working on this issue and planning some great fun events. The public is encouraged to stay tuned because we are hoping to call on volunteer artists to hold a day camp the week of July 19th."
Although the fire brought major problems and destruction, the Friends and Nature Center staff have worked overtime to keep as many programs and events running as scheduled.
"The Nature Center will have provided 28 school groups with Environmental Education programs during May and June," said Marshall. "They've also succeeded in offering nine off-site weekend workshops in town this spring, eight off-site school programs and four special interest group programs. More than 1,300 individules have enjoyed Nature Center programing during these 3 1/2 months. This does not include totals from our Earth Day Fundraiser Brunch or the Heritage Festival. NYS Parks should be honored to have such a hard-working group of people volunteering to provide the public with such fantastic opportunities."
Friends launched a Nature Center Recovery Fund Drive following the March 2 fire and "the support has been amazing," Friends say.
The address of the temporary quarters is 32 Beach/Marina Road. The building is open every day and the Nature Center section is open regularly from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Although the center has always been open free to the public, due to the relocation, there is now a $5 fee per vehicle at Barnhart Beach during the summer season. Seasonal Passes are also available through NYS Parks on their website; www.nysparks.com.
There are several ways to contribute to the Nature Center Recovery Fund and stay in touch:
Call 764-5498 to reach the Nature Center.
Donations may be sent to The Friends of the Nature Center at Robert Moses State Park, Inc. at PO Box 548, Massena, NY 13662; make checks payable to “Friends of the Robert Moses Nature Center” and put ‘Nature Center Recovery Fund ‘ on your check memo line.
Soon, donations may be made online via www.nynaturecenter.org using PayPal. This is a new webpage being set up to keep the community informed about post-fire plans.