The Marine Creek Nature and Discovery Center, a longtime TCC Northwest project, began seeding April 21 in preparation for being deployed as an outdoor classroom.
A monarch waystation and a bench in memory of former faculty member Shirley Gangwere will be the first major projects this summer and fall.
The MCNDC has been the project of Biology professor Greta Bowling for a few years now. It started as an idea to revitalize an area on campus that was not being utilized, but had the potential to be redeveloped into an outdoor classroom. This would simultaneously restore a natural habitat while also providing a venue for curriculum and programs that can support sustainability, conservation and land stewardship. Through years of hard work and the formation of a new Districtwide committee (the TCC Conservation Coalition) the project is nearing completion.
The Center, located on the northwest corner of the campus adjacent to Marine Creek Reservoir, will be seeded with a mix of native grasses and flowers. There will also be walkways, benches, the monarch waystation and a few raised plant beds with signage. Future plans are to utilize a rainwater filtration system and other alternative energy technologies to teach sustainability. This initiative will be taken up by several disciplines with faculty from many departments utilizing the space.
In the coming years the Center will be able to support classes from disciplines as wide ranging as art, English, horticulture and the sciences. This will allow TCC students to use natural areas to combine classroom and field experience to apply their learning to life in in the community and, ultimately, will deepen their knowledge and understanding of classroom theories and establish a culture of environmentally consciousness. Bowling also is working on creating an academic pathway for Marine Creek Collegiate High School students to begin taking classes that utilize the Center on their way to completing a program at TCC and, eventually, a bachelor degree in Ecology or Biology from the University of North Texas.
The campus will be kept up to date as the project progresses.