The Education Center
Public focus on water resources and land stewardship is increasing the need for information and dialogue. The Cedar River Watershed, where those issues are an everyday reality, is an ideal location for an environmental education center where public involvement is a top priority.
The Cedar River Watershed Education Center, operated by Seattle Public Utilities, is located just outside the municipal watershed boundary in North Bend. Nestled on a ridge overlooking Rattlesnake Lake, the Center serves thousands of school children each year, and welcomes visitors, families, corporate groups, researchers, and scientists.
The Center is open to the casual visitor and is an important resource for the more serious student. It helps visitors to understand the complex issues surrounding the future of our drinking water, our forests, and our salmon. It also hosts conferences, retreats, and programs fostering public dialogue to meet environmental stewardship challenges.
Built with LEED certification by Jones & Jones Architects, the facility echoes in design what the Center achieves through its programs. An integrated respect for the natural landscape and a focus on recycled materials are noteworthy components of the finished structures. Additionally, covered walkways with roofs of sod link the Center's buildings.
The Exhibit Hall tells the unique story of the watershed through hands-on, interactive exhibits, to help visitors understand the complex issues surrounding the future of our drinking water, our forests, fish, and wildlife.
The Loon and Lichen Learning Laboratories allow students, teachers, and families to explore the science of the watershed. Microscopes, water test kits, and other equipment put the riches of the watershed in students' hands and help spur the education of our next generation of scientists and natural resource managers.
The Heritage Research Library archives and makes available the collected artifacts of 9,400 years of human activity in the watershed, supplementing our understanding of the watershed's cultural and natural history.
The Auditorium hosts school groups, environmental groups, and tribal organizations, as well as scientists who are conducting cutting-edge environmental research in the watershed. It also provides a perfect setting for conference or professional groups, and even the occasional wedding reception.
The Heritage Court at the heart of the Education Center mirrors the watershed's ecology with native plants, a meandering stream, and Rain Drums played by nature.