Learning Center to be Created on Barker’s Island
By Daniel Fanning
The Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve and the University of Wisconsin-Superior are pleased to announce that they have received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to renovate and design a new public learning center on Barker’s Island in Superior.
The center will tell the story of the St. Louis River estuary, the Lake Superior watershed, and the communities that line their banks.
The award from NOAA totals $316,667, with match provided by the University of Wisconsin-Extension. The funds will be utilized to renovate the existing facility at 3 Marina Drive on Barker’s Island, purchased in 2011 from Vista Fleet, and create engaging exhibits that foster connection to the Lake Superior watershed and coastal resources.
A classroom and meeting space will provide the Reserve and other groups with a technologically advanced space that supports community collaboration. Renovation is currently underway. The building and exhibits are expected to be open to the public by summer of 2017.
The Learning Center will drive the Reserve forward in its mission, to work through partnerships to improve the understanding of Lake Superior estuaries and coastal resources and to address issues affecting them. Additionally, the Center will provide opportunities for the UW-Superior students and faculty and other partners with an educational space on the waterfront.
When complete, the facility is expected to be a highly-visible resource for the public and an economic stimulus for the city of Superior through increased tourism. Mayor Bruce Hagen of Superior, said in a letter of support for the grant proposal, “The (Learning Center) is a very important addition to City offerings for both visitors and residents alike.”
More information can be found here about the Lake Superior Reserve, NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The Lake Superior NERR is one of four research centers located at UW-Superior.