FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 18, 2012
HOMOSASSA SPRINGS STATE PARK CELEBRATES OPENING OF RENOVATED SHOREBIRD AVIARY
~Aviary now includes better viewing features for visitors and photographers~
The new aviary includes native landscaping such as sand dunes and cypress trees.
HOMOSASSA – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to officially open the renovated 1,125 square-foot aviary. Park staff, members of the Chamber of Commerce, volunteers, and guests attended the event.
The new aviary is a 75-by-75 foot cylindrical structure that includes a waterway and pond with native landscaping. The Felburn Foundation made a charitable contribution of $100,000 which funded the Shorebird Aviary project. The landscaping was funded by a $1,000 grant from the Friends of Florida State Parks in order to create a shore-like environment for the birds.
“This new aviary is an ideal addition to Homosassa Springs State Park because it provides a more natural environment for both park visitors and birds,” said Donald Forgione, Director of the Florida Park Service. “The new exhibit will enhance the visitor’s experience in enjoying …the Real Florida (SM).”
The renovated aviary provides an environment four times larger than the preexisting aviary which houses a wide variety of Florida’s unique shorebirds including Ospreys, Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Stilts, Terns, Ruddy Turnstones and more.
“Here at the Wildlife Park these birds serve as ambassadors for their species while educating our visitors,” said Park Manager Art Yerian. “Our visitors can learn to identify birds and to appreciate our need to protect and preserve shore birds and their natural habitats.”
Park guests can now walk along the 40-foot boardwalk, enter the aviary, and purchase food to feed the birds. An enclosed viewing area inside the aviary provides guests a close up view of the birds for bird watchers and photographers.
In addition to more exhibit features that benefit the guest’s experience, the new aviary benefits the injured birds it houses that cannot be returned into the wild.