Natural Resources Board accepts major donation from Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center
Grand opening of Horicon Explorium exhibits set for Aug. 22
HORICON, Wis. – A gift totaling nearly $1 million from the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center sets the stage for the grand opening of the Explorium at the center on Aug. 22.
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board accepted the donation at its meeting Wednesday held at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. The donation includes $555,000 in cash and interpretive displays valued at $428,000.
“This generous donation has helped create a series of museum quality displays that promise to draw visitors from throughout the Midwest and highlight the unique history of the state’s first wildlife area,” said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. “Thanks to the ongoing partnership with the Friends group, the new Explorium creates exciting opportunities for youth and adults to learn more about conservation and the region’s renowned natural resources.”
Merlin Pieper, president of the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center, said his group is proud to support the center’s efforts to help youth and adults experience Wisconsin’s natural history and conservation heritage. In addition to the gift of funds and interpretive displays, Pieper and other members of the group have donated thousands of volunteer hours to make the $3.7 million project a reality.
“Since the time of the glaciers, Horicon Marsh has been a special place and the state Legislature recognized its importance in 1927 by passing the Horicon Marsh Wildlife Refuge Bill, making it the state’s first wildlife area,” Pieper said. “Through our support, we hope to convey the importance of stewardship to future generations.”
Highlights of the exhibits made possible by the Friends group include a walk-through glacier that depicts the origins of the marsh along with a mammoth charging out of the wall and examples of the flint-knapped Clovis points found in these early hunting grounds. Other exhibits capture the excitement of the private hunting lodges and local clubs that played a role in trying to establish early conservation practices. Numerous bird and animal mounts as well as examples of common marsh plants also fill the Explorium.
The public is encouraged to join DNR and members of the Friends group for a grand opening celebration on August 22. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area off of Highway 28 between Horicon and Mayville and will feature tours of the new Explorium, opportunities for hands-on science in the center’s learning lab, guided hikes with DNR wildlife biologists and more.
Visitors may sign up for Explorium tours at: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/
Advance registration for guided hiking tours of the marsh also is encouraged.
Parking for the grand opening event will be available at the visitor center, N7725 Wisconsin 28, Horicon, Wis., 53032, and shuttles also will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from St. Stephen Church, 505 N. Palmatory St., Horicon, Wis. To learn more, visit DNR.wi.gov and search “Horicon Marsh.”