• November 24, 2020

Sibley Nature Center plans to reopen facilities - Odessa American: Local News

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Sibley Nature Center plans to reopen facilities

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  • Getting Back to Nature

    The Sibley Nature Trail photographed shortly before sunset on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020.

Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2020 4:30 am

MIDLAND After being forced to shut down due to COVID-19 back in April, Sibley Nature Center officials are hopeful about being able to open in the coming weeks.

But parts of the nature center have remained open to the public including the trail.

The mile-long trail, which is open from sunrise to sunset, every day, has seen plenty of use from the public even during the pandemic, Executive Director Paul Acosta said.

“People can come out and enjoy that. People are welcomed to come out and bring their dogs, if they’re on a leash. You also have people who are walking, jogging, and enjoying the outdoors while we’re in these challenging times.”

But the nature center’s main facility is still closed at the moment. Acosta said they are looking at June 15 as a reopening date.

“We’re hoping to get opened back as things start easing up,” Acosta said. “Of course, we’ll promote and encourage social distancing when people come into our building. But we’d love to have people back by the third week in June. They can come in and enjoy our exhibits.”

The Sibley Nature Center celebrates the nature and history of the region through a broad range of educational programs at its site of 49 acres in Hogan Park.

Usually at this time of the year, the nature center is putting together various summer camps.

Many of those camps included the nature center’s Wild About Science Camps, Arthropod Adventures for students entering fourth-sixth grades as well as the Growing From Nature Day Camps for kindergarten-third graders.

“We had an adult fun camp during the summer time. and then we had a summer camp for kids to come out to and it revolved around not just the estacado but the study of insects and it’s been good to get kids outdoors and to learn about science and how the llano estacado is a living, breathing organism and what we can do to protect it and keep it going for future generations and what we can do to protect it,” Acosta said.

But this year, with the coronavirus, the summer plans have been altered.

“We usually do summer camps,” Acosta said. “But right now, it’s something that after discussing with the board, our summer events are canceled or postponed.”

Acosta said they are looking at postponing some camps to the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

“Not everyone has that entire week off during thanksgiving and Christmas but we’re hoping the parents can still bring kids to those camps at that time,” Acosta said.

But as the center tries to open back up, Acosta says they will be doing a lot of cleaning around the facilities to make sure they are safe for the public.

“Our plan is, the first two weeks in June, we’ll open back up to staff and get the overall building a good deep clean and just go by the precautions that the county and state are saying,” Acosta said. “We want to protect everyone’s health and the staff and visitors as well.”

Follow Michael Bauer on Twitter at @OAmichaelba

Odessa, TX

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