GAMBIER — A new outdoor classroom and picnic shelter is under way at the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College thanks to help from volunteers and a Lowe’s/Keep America Beautiful Community Improvement Grant.
The BFEC was one of 120 organizations across the nation to receive the $5,000 grant, awarded for litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling or beautification and community greening.
The shelter will be used for BFEC public programs and elementary school field trips, as well as a spot to relax for casual visitors coming to picnic, take in the Wildlife Garden or hike BFEC trails.
The structure is located near the confluence of some of the county’s best outdoor recreational amenities, including the Kokosing Gap Trail and a Knox County Park District public access point on the Kokosing River at Laymon Road.
“We hope the shelter will serve casual visitors to all of these spots, and that they’ll all benefit by tying together,” said BFEC Facility Manager Dave Heithaus.
Volunteers from the park district, KGT and College Township Trustees will contribute as many as 80 work hours to complete the project. The shelter will make its debut at the BFEC Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 20, where it will house live music and event seating.
Directional and educational signage also under development at the BFEC will further increase visitor awareness of the overlapping resources. The BFEC received an Ohio Environmental Education Grant earlier this year to install river signage at the Laymon Road canoe access and at an intersection of a KGT river crossing and a BFEC nature trail.
“The Kokosing River is an incredible community asset,” said BFEC Program Manger Heather Doherty. “It’s one of the highest quality rivers in the state based on beauty, biodiversity and conservation. We’d like to share the reasons why the river is in such great shape so we can all take pride in it.”
The BFEC is at 9781 Laymon Road, just outside of Gambier. Information and event calendars are available at 427-5052 or http://bfec.kenyon.edu.