Formerly the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, the Science and Learning Center facility will provide classroom and laboratory space for educational groups, primary and secondary schools, researchers and others to enhance the learning opportunities available on the Monument. The facility is open to the public, serving as an information station, rest area and indoor/outdoor picnic area for visitors. In 2013, expect to see increasing activity at the Science and Learning Center, including new programs offered through partners and more visitor amenities.
An important key to success of the Science and Learning Center is having partners and volunteers on-site to help provide visitor information, lend a hand with school groups, deliver interpretive services and more. “The Science and Learning Center has gotten off the ground with the help of the Mount St. Helens Institute and Discover Your Northwest, our close partners,” says Forest Service Monument Manager, Tom Mulder. “We’re looking forward to growing our family of volunteers to help us make it a success. It’s an exciting opportunity for anyone who would like to be a part of building something big from the ground up.” Volunteer opportunities are available for all ages and abilities. As the number of volunteers grows, so will amenities and the hours the building is open to the public.
In November and December, the Science and Learning Center will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It will close from January through April, reopening in mid-May, though some partner programs may occur at the facility throughout winter.
The facility is located at milepost 43 on State Highway 504, approximately 10 miles west of Johnston Ridge Observatory. There are indoor and outdoor picnic tables, restrooms and, of course, a magnificent view of Mount St. Helens. The Elk Bench Trail starts near the building and connects with the Lakes Trail, providing stunning views of Coldwater Lake and frequent elk sightings along the way. The Lakes Trail, now being maintained through a partnership with a local mountain biking group, travels along the shore of Coldwater Lake. Adjacent to the Science and Learning Center is the accessible Winds of Change Trail, a ¼-mile paved path leading through a part of the Blast Zone. A pet rest area is located within the Coldwater Lake parking area.
For more information on volunteering or partnerships with the Science and Learning Center, contact Lisa Romano, Community Engagement Specialist, at 360-449-7831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.