Jacksonville realizes 20-year dream - Christi Hill Team

Jacksonville realizes 20-year dream

Environmental Education Center

Jacksonville realizes 20-year dream

The city of Jacksonville, NC celebrated a very special moment June 26, when the non-profit environmentally-focused organization Sturgeon City opened its Environmental Education Center.

The education center is located at a former wastewater treatment plant site located at 50 Court Street in Jacksonville. According to JDNews.com, this 14,000 square-foot facility boasts a spacious main room (which can be divided into three rooms). There is also a conference room and catering kitchen offering the community a place to gather, learn, experiment and pursue economic opportunities.

Don Herring, chairman for Sturgeon City, told WNCT9 News that the new educational center tells the story of “environmental stewardship and environmental restoration.”

Additionally other officials say the site “can be an economic driver for the community.”

The birth of an idea in Jacksonville NC

Ironically, the former wastewater treatment plant was the source of water pollution in the 1970s and 80s, according to WNCT9 News. The mayor of Jacksonville at that time, George Jones, initiated an effort to restore New River, which runs through Jacksonville.

Efforts to filter the polluted water from the river began in earnest in 1998. These water cleaning efforts involved the use of oyster parts. Additionally, scientists had to work on improving the river bottom’s quality.

Herring said the center will provide a place for youth to learn and be inspired to work for further improvement in their environment.

Cameron Davis, who attends the Onslow Early College High School told JDNews that he was impressed by the center’s size and design. He has been participating in one of Sturgeon City’s summer learning programs that provide scientific education for children from kindergarten to high school.

Brian Phillips, an intern at Sturgeon City, told JDNews, “This used to be a big field and they worked out of tents.”

The stated mission of Sturgeon City is to “provide programs and events to area youth and adults to cultivate a love and understanding of science and the environment.”

Not only will the the new center serve as an educational and environmental science hub, but it will also be available to community members to rent for parties, conferences and weddings.

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