The Visitor Center at North River

The visitor center and garden at North River Wildlife Sanctuary

As an older building, built in the early 1900s, our North River Wildlife Sanctuary office building needed many improvements to become more energy efficient. Some have been large investments, while others are on a smaller, less obvious scale but have big results.

Water Conservation

Working with the GreenScapes program, we have installed a rain garden planted with native shrubs and perennials. The rain garden captures water from our gutters and filters the water through gravel and sand pit before it reaches the groundwater system. The native plants also provide food for butterflies and birds. Visitors often watch ruby-throated hummingbirds feeding on the cardinal flowers in late summer and early fall.

Renewable & Recycled

The next time you visit North River Wildlife Sanctuary, you'll notice our reception area and especially the desk. The reception area has moved so that we can be more welcoming and provide better service to our visitors. A desk has been constructed out of recycled and renewable materials. The desk frame is made of old bed frames that have been cut and welded together, the front panels are bamboo trimmed with recycled aluminum, the desk top consists of pressed wheat husks, and the privacy panels are made from recycled plastic with real leaves pressed between two sheets of opaque resin.

Conserving Heat & Energy

Though the sights and sounds of a flooded basement were not welcome news, it presented an unexpected opportunity to upgrade our aging boilers and hot water heaters. So, in 2006 we installed new energy-efficient systems at our North River office building. The resulting decrease in our gas bill was almost 30%! Since then, we have installed programmable thermostats in all our buildings and added insulation to our attic and walls. Windows in the office building have been retrofitted so that they are now double-paned with the addition of storm windows.