SFA's Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building officially opened
January 27, 2014 - University Marketing Communications
A ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the newly constructed Ina Brundrett Conservation Education Building was held Monday in SFA's Pineywoods Native Plant Center. Pictured outside the new facility, from left, are: Carlos Amaral, former member of the SFA Board of Regents; Matthew Logan, student regent; Ken Schaefer, Dr. Scott Coleman and Brigettee Henderson, regents; Lynne Maddox, daughter of Ina Brundrett, the building's namesake; Steve McCarty, chairman of the Board of Regents; Dr. Baker Pattillo, SFA president; Barry Nelson, regent; Larry Maddox, Lynne's husband; Connie Ware, David Alders, Bob Garrett and Ralph Todd, regents; Dr. Dave Creech, professor emeritus of agriculture and associate director of SFA Gardens; Barbara Stump, research associate for SFA Gardens; Craig Turnage, SFA development officer; and Elyce Rodewald, educational programs coordinator for SFA Gardens.
The new facility, located in SFA's Pineywoods Native Plant Center on Raguet Street, will assist with the development and presentation of environmental education programs year-round, rain or shine. Funded entirely through private donations, the building is designed to integrate educational and outreach programs offered to the more than 17,000 SFA Gardens visitors each year.
According to Dr. Steve Bullard, dean of the Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, SFA is working to increase understanding of how food, fiber and other goods are produced within our society.
"The new building will allow us to reach individuals with a true conservation message, emphasizing the need to sustain both the ecology and the economy of our community," Bullard said.
The facility is named in honor of Tyler philanthropist Ina Brundrett, who serves on both the SFA Gardens and Native Plant Center boards of advisers. A member of three garden clubs, Brundrett is a former president of the Texas Garden Clubs and a Certified Master Gardener. The backyard of her Tyler residence has been declared a wildlife habitat by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation.
"This new building will help us connect more visitors to the natural world, even in undesirable weather," said Dr. David Creech, professor emeritus of agriculture and associate director of the SFA Gardens. "We are also very excited that the facility has an energy-efficient design that will meld into the existing forest and create a perfect setting for a conservation education center."
The building includes flexible laboratory and classroom space, along with office and storage areas and much-needed restrooms. A solar array to be installed on the building's roof is expected to offset 60 to 80 percent of the building's energy usage.
The solar array was acquired through a $30,000 donation from the Sun Club, a program of Green Mountain Energy, which is the country's longest-serving renewable energy retailer. The array and its energy-use monitoring system also will serve to educate students and visitors about solar energy.
"Faculty and staff members within the college are excited about the endless possibilities, and everyone looks forward to having classes, meetings and outreach activities in the new building," Bullard said.
He added that the facility will allow SFA to conduct activities in a true natural setting, which will contribute to the economic, environmental and social quality of life in the community.
"The facility and Native Plant Center together will maximize the effectiveness and impact of these programs," Bullard said.
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