Racine, WI, July 23, 2012 – The long-awaited reopening of Racine County’s beloved River Bend Nature Center was held on August 4, 10 am to 2 pm, with a free community open house.
Saturday, August 4 marked the grand re-opening of River Bend Nature Center (3600 North Green Bay Road, Racine, across from Batten Airport). An Open House event with many free activities will took place from 10 am to 2 pm. Activities included owl and butterfly stations, live music, kayaking demonstration, kids’ crafts, guided nature walks, woodcarving demonstrations, and much more. Visitors are encouraged to share their memories of River Bend and hopes for the future.
“We are very pleased to be in a position to be able to re-open River Bend,” said Roger Chernik, President of the Board of Directors of River Bend Nature Center, Inc. (RBNCI), the non-profit organization that is managing the center. “This could not have happened without the amazing amount of affection that county residents have for River Bend, the passion and tireless efforts of a committed group of volunteers, and the fact that Racine County found a way to purchase the property from its former owner and to arrange to have it managed privately without the use of current tax dollars,” he added.
Following the purchase of River Bend by Racine County in May, a lease to run the center was signed by RBNCI on June 4, 2012. Between that date and the grand opening, the volunteers are restoring the grounds and buildings to their former condition, a process that will take many months to complete. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on July 14 and attended by about 60 government officials, donors, volunteers, and community partners.
Although August 4 marked the reopening of a longstanding natural treasure in Racine County and much work still needs to be done on the facilities, equipment and grounds, those working on this effort have a confident vision of what lies ahead. One of River Bend’s most committed volunteers for many years, Bob Oertel, recently said this in a history of River Bend that he compiled: “What will tomorrow bring? We look to go where nature leads us, developing a better understanding of how we can best co-exist with the land, the water, the air, the plants and the wildlife. We will ensure that our connections to the earth are restored and maintained so that they can be enjoyed by everyone.”