The Dungeness River Audubon Center is getting a new name.
Board members unanimously agreed last month to rename the facility the Dungeness River Nature Center.
The new name reflects the center’s educational mission to teach children and adults about the natural environment of the Dungeness River watershed, the organization said in a press release.
“We were prompted to change the name, so people understand that the work we do is to celebrate all natural and cultural resources of the Dungeness River watershed,” said Powell Jones, the center’s director and park manager.
“Although we want to continue to be a go-to place for birds, we want visitors to come learn about the Dungeness River’s unique ecosystems and inhabitants that include salmon, mammals, insects and plants,” Jones said.
“Additionally, we want to be a place where people come to learn about the special relationship that the Jamestown Tribe has had with this watershed for time immemorial.”
River Center partners, including the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society, and the state and national Audubon societies, support the name change, River Center representatives said.
The River Center board also decided to write a new mission statement — “To inspire understanding, respect, and stewardship of our natural and cultural resources” — and it adopted a new logo that bears the new name.
“Because the River Center covers such a wide range of subjects that include everything from wildflowers, trees, insects, coyotes, hummingbirds and everything in between, we felt that it was also important for our mission statement to be reworked to include and describe best what we do,” Jones said.
The Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society will continue to sponsor and present bird-centric programs, field trips, BirdFest and classes, noted Ken Wiersma, the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society president.
“Audubon” has been part of the River Center’s name and logo since 1997.
“While we’ll miss the Audubon name on the center, the new name represents a more inclusive commitment from each of the partners to the understanding and stewardship of our natural environment,” Jones said. “The National Audubon Society and their state office will continue to work in partnership with the center to achieve our shared goals.
“We have been active partners in the designs and capabilities built into the expanded center. As an entirely volunteer organization and the smallest of the local partners, we’re energized and ready to get into the center and do our part.
“We’re delighted to see the Pileated Woodpecker in Salish art, in the new logo.”
Expansion, remodel set
Set for a re-opening sometime later this fall, the River Center expansion and remodel is five times larger than the original building at Railroad Bridge Park and will look to integrate local natural history and the S’Klallam culture of the North Olympic Peninsula.
The expanded and remodeled facility includes a 150-person meeting room, a small conference/classroom, exhibit room, new office, gift shop, commercial catering kitchen, concession stand, wildlife viewing room, atrium and a large patio for outdoor activities.
The River Center sits in the 75-acre Railroad Bridge Park, owned by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and an active partner in the center since 1994. The tribe provides a range of maintenance, repair and park and center facilities upgrades, including caring for the historic railroad bridge that crosses the Dungeness River.
“Our Tribe is very excited about this expansion of the Dungeness River Center,” said W. Ron Allen, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chair and CEO. “The new name and logo reflect a turning of the page in this Tribal/community program’s purpose — one that will enlighten many generations about the importance of the river and habitat for fish and wildlife to our community.
“The center will truly become a destination site honoring the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula.”