The Swaner EcoCenter is a 10,000 square feet education and museum building in Park City, Utah. The visionary creators of the preserve recognized the importance of protecting this land from encroaching development pressures. Acres of wetlands are protected by conservation easements. On-going wetland restoration provides improved water quality and habitat for a rich variety of wildlife including deer, elk, moose, mink, beaver, red fox, coyote, eagles and hawks, sandhill cranes, and more than 90 additional species of birds.
The EcoCenter provides visitors a starting point to experience the 1,200-acre Swaner Preserve through a variety of engaging environmental science education programs for all ages. Visitors can also participate in year-round recreational opportunities such as hiking, birdwatching, snowshoeing and photography. In 2010, ownership and oversight of the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter were transferred to Utah State University. To date, this is largest private gift in the history of the university. The combination of the EcoCenter and Preserve with Utah State create a powerhouse to continue the mission of conservation and education. Since then, the educational opportunities available at the EcoCenter have continued to grow. School field trip offerings have expanded, a full‐time youth educator was hired, and summer camps grew from a smattering handful to a robust schedule. All this while the EcoCenter continued to offer pre‐school storytimes, a year‐round CSA pick‐up location, artist exhibits, guided nature walks and panel discussions. The EcoCenter building and landscape is truly helping to achieve the Swaner Preserve’s mission to “To Preserve the land and the human connection to the natural landscape, to Educate the local and broader communities about the value of nature, and to Nurture both the ecosystem and the people connected with it.”
photographs by: Rob Holman