Thursday, February 11, 2016
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In Idaho, opportunity and nature centers are synonymous. A unique opportunity is key in how all five were created. Opportunity is central to what each provides today.
In the 1980s, a 4.6 acre former landfill laid vacant behind the Idaho Fish and Game headquarters building in Boise. Then director Jerry Conley saw an opportunity and wanted something done with this vacant lot. Nongame Manager Wayne Melquist and Fisheries Bureau Chief Stacey Gebhart provided the vision. Local businesses and foundations donated the supplies and dollars, and staff and volunteers supplied the labor. In 1987 the Morris-Knudsen Nature Center opened its doors.
Today, the Nature Center is a showcase of wild Idaho right in the heart of its capitol city. Upwards to 200,000 visitors a year discover opportunities to connect with nature by strolling along the Living Stream, engaging with hands on exhibits, attending tours and lectures and volunteering to make the Nature Center even better.
Idaho Fish and Game has five nature centers and natural areas established as educational opportunities for the public to connect with the state's fish and wildlife. They are the Water Life Discovery Center near Sandpoint, Lewiston Wildlife Habitat Area in Lewiston, MK Nature Center in Boise, Edson Fichter Nature Area in Pocatello, and Salmon Outdoor Classroom in Salmon.
To read more about Idaho's nature centers and other 75th Anniversary Celebration stories, visit the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.