FULTON, Ill. — Although there is still work to be done do to finalize the opening of the Andresen Nature Center in Fulton, caretaker and director Kyle Kopf feels it is time to unveil nearly a year’s worth of work to the community.
To kick off the soft opening of the center, Kopf will host the first of what will be number of educational lectures throughout the year at 1 p.m. Wednesday. It will feature a discussion with David Harrison from the Whiteside County Soil and Water Conservation District about common Northwestern Illinois birds and their habitats.
This will be the first time the general public will have an opportunity to see the educational center after its conversion from a residential home that was donated by the Andresen family nearly one year ago.
In the donation, Harold Andresen requested that the home, once owned by his late sister Arliss, be transformed into a community facility specializing in education.
With the soft opening scheduled for next week, that vision is finally coming to fruition.
A grand opening is still in the works for later this year, once the rooms are fully stocked with taxidermy and other displays. At this point, Kopf is waiting for a few final security measures before bringing in irreplaceable artifacts and other hard-to-replace items.
Of those he expects to house at the nature center is the wild cougar that was killed last year after roaming at large in Morrison, Illinois. Once he can get that item into the facility, he believes the rest of the displays will follow.
In order to get the center ready for Wednesday though, Kopf is enlisting the help of the community. He has put out an invitation to everyone interested in preparing the nature center to join him between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. today for a volunteer workday.
Those who are interested can help for part or all of the day and are welcome to arrive at any time.
For those who would like to attend the first lecture at the Andresen Nature Center, admission is free but donations are always welcome. More information and updates on the progress of the facility are available on the Andresen Nature Center’s Facebook page and Kopf can be contacted at KyleKopfSR@gmail.com.