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New bird habitat coming to the Marine Science Center.

Tue, Jul 05, 2022 at 2:35PM

Written by Kristen Schmutz

Belden Communications News 



During the Volusia County Council meeting held on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, council members unanimously approved a new bird habitat at the Marine Science Center, an environmental learning center in Ponce Inlet that has hosted more than a million visitors since opening in 2002.

According to a release, the new 650-square-foot exhibit will become the home to six of the center’s raptor ambassadors – birds being cared for at the facility but aren’t suitable for release because of injury. In addition to being a popular attraction that showcases marine life and environmental awareness, the Marine Science Center, or MSC, also serves as a working rehabilitation hospital for shorebirds and sea turtles and has successfully treated more than 19,000 birds.

The new bird habitat is funded by an ECHO grant and a $125,000 donation from the nonprofit Friends of the Marine Science Center.

The Marine Science Center plans for the new bird exhibit to be placed adjacent to the elevated boardwalk and immediately west of the Marine Science Center’s main building. The new habitat will feature a covered pedestrian viewing area with educational signage and interactive touch-screen information stations to enhance the visitor experience and make the bird encounters entertaining, engaging, and educational for the public while spreading a message of habitat protection and conservation.

While the new exhibit will also be replacing the raptor exhibit, currently located across the parking lot from the Marine Science Center’s main exhibit gallery, staff at the Marine Science Center will repurpose the current facility by expanding the space devoted to injured birds that are being treated and going through the rehabilitation and healing process while being prepared for release.

“Staff at the MSC continues to focus on improving educational opportunities to teach the public about Volusia County’s conservation efforts and how visitors can take these messages home and help lessen human impacts in their area,” said the Marine Science Center, in the grant application to the county’s ECHO program that helps finance environmental, cultural, historic and outdoor recreation facilities.

The $330,000 contract to build the new bird exhibit went to Paul Culver Construction Inc. of Daytona Beach, and the project should take approximately nine months to complete.

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