Numerous city and parks officials joined a large crowd of citizens for the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of The Walnut Creek Wetland Center.
Dr. Norman Camp listened to Mayor Charles Meeker, city councilman James West and park officials speak about the new center. Then the founder of Partners for Environmental Justice , and the man who sheperded this project into being, got up and spoke of the center as a shining new gem in Raleigh’s crown,” as quoted on Raleigh Eco News.
The crowd listened attentively as the benefits for Southeast Raleigh as well as the ecosystem were described and the many supporters and participants were thanked. Then they were rewarded with a magnificent poem written for the occasion, by Christopher Rowland, a Southeast Raleigh native who wows the crowds at Artspace’s Stammer under the name Langston Fuze.
for the full text of the poem, see the post at
Musicians entertained on the “longest back porch in the Southeast,” and Erin Sterling, architect of record for the project from Frank Harmon Architecture, explained the details of the green design. The building is 230 feet long and narrow so that all rooms get light from two sides and often three. It is sloped up to the north and shelters its southern exposure with the long low porch roof. Raleigh’s final budget did not allow for the planned rainwater cisterns, but they can come later and the gutters now direct into bioretention areas – long rain gardens that surround the space. The building is on stilts and allows natural water flow under it – important in this floodplain. Recycled lumber and building materials were used when possible, and native plantings surround the site.
On the other hand, several of us gazed from the wonderful porch at a huge stand of Microstegia (bamboo or stilt grass) just at the edge of the construction clearing and bemoaned a bit the vast future work entailed in continued future protection of this site and may others in Raleigh. The educational center will raise awareness of those issues, and provide a much needed amenity and attraction in this part of Raleigh.