Detroit Zoological Society announces $10M nature center to be built in Macomb County

Michigan has a lot of recreational and educational opportunities to explore its great outdoors, and it's about to receive one more. Michigan will soon have a new nature center to explore and examine the water and wildlife of the Great Lakes, this thanks to a recent announcement from the Detroit Zoological Society.

The DZS has selected Macomb County as the future home of the Great Lakes Nature Center, which will open in 2019. The organization, which operates both the Detroit Zoo and the Belle Isle Nature Center, anticipates spending at least $10 million on the project, which will see the construction of a facility at more than 20,000 sq. ft. in size. DZS estimates 150,000 to 200,000 visitors annualy.

Though the official site has yet to be announced, officials have decided that the Great Lakes Nature Center will be located in Macomb County. A site announcement will be made in the spring.

"As stewards of the environment, we have a great responsibility to protect the Great Lakes and the wildlife that inhabit them," DZS Executive Director and CEO Ron Kagan said in a release. "Macomb County, with 32 miles of coastline along Lake St. Clair and 31 miles on the Clinton River, is the ideal location for a major waterfront nature center devoted to the natural wonders of the Great Lakes."

DZS has plenty of plans for the Great Lakes Nature Center, including:
  • A home for fish now extinct in the Great Lakes, like lake sturgeon and paddlefish
  • A focus on conservation efforts for endangered species
  • Habitats for native amphibians, reptiles, turtles, small mammals, shorebirds, and birds of
  • prey
  • A native butterfly garden
  • Birding, astronomy, and citizen science opportunities
  • Programming related to education, conservation, science, and animal welfare as well as the environmental protection and economic importance of North America’s freshwater inland seas
The Great Lakes Nature Center will funded through a combination of private, public, and foundation funding contributions.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.