Director of Dungeness River Nature Center and Park Manager of Railroad Bridge Park
The Dungeness River Nature Center is located at 2151 West Hendrickson Road, within Railroad Bridge Park, Sequim. An expansion project adding 5,500 square feet of space that will allow for more programs for nature-focused learning is now in progress. The Center represents a partnership between the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the River Center Foundation, the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, and the National Audubon Society & Audubon Washington. About 100,000 people visit the center and park each year.
“Beyond college and a few shorter work experiences after my schooling, I have lived in Sequim my whole life---born, raised, and returned! Personally, the things I enjoy most about Sequim is the overall beauty and access to recreational opportunities. I have also lived in Ellensburg, Washington, and Yakutat, Alaska. Now, my wife Laura and I are raising our two children here in Sequim.
“Sequim is made unique because of its placement---Being situated in an area with the geography, weather, and biota has attracted the people who in turn have provided uniqueness to our specific community.
“The river center was brought to life because of the passion of a group of people for the Dungeness River. Our focus is on educating specifically about our environment, and so our location provides access to the perfect outdoor classroom.
“Our organization and our partners are dedicated to inspiring wonder about the natural and cultural resources of the Dungeness Watershed. I would like to think we make Sequim special by bringing attention to those resources because we believe that the Dungeness River and surrounding area are the fabric of what makes this area distinct.
“The Dungeness River Nature Center is for everyone! We serve every age, from preschool to retired community members. You are never too young or too old to start learning about the place you call home or a place you are visiting.
“The River Center educates over 2,000 students in grades 1 through 8 each year, many whom attend the River Festival. We are aiming for a soft opening in fall 2021, with a grand opening to follow once the project is completed. River Festival will return in 2022 to the new center and redesigned park.
“I think that our impact on kids is that we change the way they look at the world, and by changing the way they look at the world, we change the way they interact with the world. So, making better citizens for the future, is the impact that we have on kids, which really excites me. For the longevity of our resources, we must try to reach as many people as possible.”
For more information about the Dungeness River Nature Center and Railroad Bridge Park, and for updates on the expansion project, visit their website at https://dungenessrivercenter.org/.
Aerial view of Railroad Bridge Park and children at the center are from the Inspire Wonder Campaign video which can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cwIqD7DVwQ&t=7s.