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Borrego Springs, CA

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The big move… finally!

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). 

75 Anahuac NWR 2013-201423

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:

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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. 

75 Anahuac NWR 2013-201421

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.

75 Anahuac NWR 2013-201422

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!

75 Anahuac NWR 2013-201424                                      And here’s what we all accomplished in less than eight hours.

_MG_9953By 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.  Winking smile

Denise, Barry, Lynn, me, George, Lauren, Colin, and Kay

                                     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. Eye rolling smile  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

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for you and the teams efforts. I'm sure it will be appreciated for years to come.

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  2. I think this is AMAZING. Wished I was there to give BIG HUGS and Praise to All of You.. This is My Mom and Brothers Home(Anahauc & Hankamer). We visit this place every time we go down there. I am so excited I found your blog. Thanks

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  3. What a great days work! I always love visitor centers - educational materials - and the occasional t-shirt or ball cap!
    A chance of pace for you after all the outdoor work.

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  4. what a wonderful job all of you did. . .looks great!

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  5. It is really stunning, and looks so welcoming! I am in agreement with Anne - I love visitor centers.

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  6. You all did a great job! Everything in its place...so neat and tidy!
    I love the large windows and the scopes will be awesome!

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  7. Just beautiful...just darn right beautiful! Everyone has to be so happy...lv it!

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  8. Wow, really nice VC. You all did a fantastic job.

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  9. We are so happy that you were there for the big Grand Opening. This is something you have looked forward to for many months. What fun it is to be able to share with your volunteer friends. Now.....it's time to go out and count birds!

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  10. Oh my, those new digs are fantastic. Kudos to the crew for their hard work to make the VC a reality!!!

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  11. Looks great. Hope there are lots of sales to earn more for the refuge.

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  12. Absolutely beautiful new VIS. Thank goodness for volunteers.

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  13. The new VIS looks wonderful! I can't imagine even temporarily having had to use the shed as the VIS. :-)

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  14. Finally! The new bldg. Wish we'd been able to see the insides when we were at the refuge. You guys did a great job!!

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  15. What a great VIS it is! It would make even the most reluctant "outside" worker be happy to work in there.... all those windows and great view!

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  16. Now that is one nice visitors center!

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  17. It looks as if lots of thought went into the new visitors center--elevated, solar panels & a fully-stocked shop! Kudos all 'round!

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  18. Great looking VIS. I'd say the volunteers did a terrific job of setting up.

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  19. Congratulations on a job well done. Looks lovely. Next fall we will get down there for a visit.

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  20. WOW it looks fantastic! What a long wait but it sure was worth it. You guys did a great job. So happy that you could be there for the opening. Wish we could see it and you there this year but it looks like a no go. I'm totally bummed!

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  21. How exciting! Beautiful new digs. You all did an amazing job. Congratulations!

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  22. A job well done by all. Congratulations! Beautiful place

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  23. Wow!! Congratulations--beautiful new digs!!

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  24. Amazing when you stop to think about it, how much work would never get done without volunteers. We just had some info given to us about COE volunteers, nationwide, the volunteers have saved the COE $35 million dollars last year. Nice to be a little part of that.

    Your new digs look gorgeous! I know covering the VC is not your favorite thing, but it should be much more enjoyable in such a nice new place. :c)

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  25. Your new shop is simply beautiful and what a view. Congrats on all the hard work done by the volunteers.

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  26. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure of making a new fabulous place for people to interact with Mother Nature. I surely hope people appreciate the work that goes into making Nature possible for the masses.

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  27. What a beautiful visitors center but unbelievable that it took 5 years to build. Of course that is what can happen when the feds get involved! So happy for you that you were there to celebrate the grand opening.
    SKP Hugs, Karen

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  28. Yeah! It looks great. We will have to stop by again on our Thanksgiving trip to Texas.

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  29. Fabulous! We hope to be in that area in March 2015 so we'll be sure to check it out.

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  30. What a wonderful place that is!!! I'll bet you do a lot more business in that environment!! Love that gator!

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  31. Hard to believe that it took 5 years to build...but it's a beautiful building . It looks really visitor friendly!

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  32. Five years seems like a really long time..but then again anything with the Govt takes time! The new Visitors Center looks great and you all did a great job with the gift shop:)

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  33. The problem with how long Government construction takes has not always been true. There was a time when the Federal Government could get things built rather quickly but the bigger the government has become the slower it operates. Soon it will be so large that it will cease functioning and everything that it tries to do will never get completed.
    Hoover Dam, formerly Boulder Dam, was built in 5 years and that is certainly a bigger project that the Visitor Center. However, the Hoover Dam By-pass Bridge, officially named the Mike O'Callagan-Pat Tilman Memorial Bridge, also took 5 years. Again a much bigger project than the Visitor Center but not as big as building the Dam.

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  34. Nice Post.Thanks for Sharing this in your Blog

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