Elevate Nebraska

Rowe Sanctuary hosts ceremonial Groundbreaking

Audubon Nebraska has raised $12.5 million for renovation and expansion of the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary

(GIBBON, NEBRASKA – April 5, 2023) Yesterday, Rowe Sanctuary hosted an exclusive groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of their $12.5 million renovation and expansion. After remarks and a brief social reception, guests went on a dusk tour to see the migrating Sandhill Cranes land on the Platte River.

Rowe Sanctuary is one of the largest documented roosts in the Central Platte River Valley. Audubon manages the habitat year-round and every March their work is validated by millions of migrating Cranes. Although rare, Sandhill Cranes are considered a stable population thanks to long-term efforts by Audubon and other conservation organizations.

With the planned additions, Rowe Sanctuary’s visitor’s center will nearly double in size. Designed by Lake Flato Architects, the west addition will include an education lab and large covered pavilion, the east wing addition boasts two multipurpose community spaces and a professional-grade catering kitchen. The parking lot will be shifted and expanded to allow for twice as many stalls and space for vans and buses. The renovations were designed with accessibility in mind – new features include automatic door openers, wider level-entry doors, concrete paths, and wildlife-friendly lighting – to ensure that our spaces and programs are available to everyone. Studio Outside Landscape Architecture has collaborated with the conservation staff at Rowe to design a surrounding prairie and trails filled with Nebraska native plants, ensuring natural spaces for wildlife to thrive.   

The Wetlands Exploration area is designed for Audubon’s inquiry-based education programs, inspiring inquiry and cultivating kids’ natural curiosity. It will feature an accessible boardwalk and dock and new birding trails to the south of the Visitor’s Center. Rowe Sanctuary and Audubon Nebraska’s other nature center, Spring Creek Prairie, provide opportunities for young people to experience nature by being in nature. Audubon’s educational programs aim to create the next generation of effective conservationists by sparking in them an interest about our natural spaces and bird habitats, by inspiring them to take a step back and appreciate what’s around us—and what’s worth protecting. 

Media Contact Melissa Amarawardana, Melissa.Amarawardana@audubon.org, 402.999.3404 


About Audubon 

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. 

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