Back in 2008 hurricane Ike hit the Houston area, and Anahuac NWR took a direct hit. The storm surge ruined the office buildings on the refuge, and took out all the windows and two walls of the VIS (Visitors Information Station).
Shortly afterwards, a temporary 10’X12’ shed was put up to serve as the VIS until a new building could be constructed. Problems with the new construction ensued, and it has taken more than five years to build a new location. But today was finally the day that we moved from the little cave-like shed to this:
Many of the RV volunteers, and one local volunteer rallied together today to get the job done! As you can see, this new VIS is raised up off of the ground, is fully accessible, and has large windows on all sides along with a bank of solar panels to help provide electricity.
It is also surrounded by an elevated deck that allows these views of the moist soil units, gazebo (fashioned out of the pre-Ike VIS) and the famous “Willows” birding area. Eventually, it’ll have scopes for visitors to use to scan for all the birds you can’t see with the naked eye. On a clear day, you can see all the way to Galveston Bay, five miles away.
The official refuge displays had been installed a week or so ago, but half the inside area was allotted to the Friends of Anahuac Refuge Nature Store. That’s where we came in. We started with bare walls and some worked on installing shelving, while others stocked those shelves. Our group included retired teachers, an electrician, a hair stylist, a salesman for a drug company, and a computer guru among other talents. I especially got a kick out of seeing Bill, the big volunteer that normally does mowing in a huge tractor on the refuge, putting tiny children’s sized t-shirts on hangers and on a display rack. What a multi-talented work force!
By early afternoon, we were open for business. These two ladies got the surprise of their life as they walked in the door as our first customers. We all cheered out loud to welcome them to the refuge. We weren’t quite done getting everything ready, but they returned after their driving tour and made several purchases. Barry, our computer guru, had the touch screen cash register working by then.
Denise, Barry, Lynn, myself, George, Lauren, Colin, and Kay
I was able to persuade most of us (kind of like herding cats) to pose for this pic toward the end of the day. I thank Jim for taking this photo. I have another photo with him in it instead of me, but he was putting horns over Colin's head. Who says we’re old? A great bunch of folks to work with.
If you’re in the area, I hope ya’ll will stop by to visit us at our new digs!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy