Re-Opening of Upper Main Line YMCA's Nature Center

A YMCA employee hosts a demonstration with an Owl at the Upper Main Line YMCA Environmental complex in Berwyn, PA.

The Upper Main Line YMCA (UMLY) will be celebrating the grand re-opening of their Nature Center­-an integral part of UMLY’s Environmental and STEM Education Complex-on Tuesday, October 29 at 5:00 PM, with a ribbon-cutting, brief presentation and open house.

UMLY’s Environmental and STEM Education Complex, which provides hands-on experiences for all to experience the importance of caring for the environment and preserving it for the future, also includes a Raptor Center for injured birds who cannot be returned to the wild, a Micro Farm which includes aeroponic tower gardens and a barnyard complete with goats, sheep and chickens, as well as garden beds, where the community can grow their own food. In addition, there is a STEM classroom and the Cassat Preserve, which consists of 20 acres of woodland, wetlands and a meadow that includes the headwaters of Darby Creek and five miles of trails.  

At the opening, the new residence of Sparky, the 19-year-old common snapping turtle, will be revealed to all. The $16,000 tank with a life-support system was gifted to the Upper Main Line Y by Wendy McLean and William Harral III. The new tank gives the 50-pound turtle more space and with the complex life-support system, not only keeps the turtle healthy, but will become a vital tool in the education of students.

Armco Aquatics, who installed the tank, believes it is the largest exhibit created for a single aquatic animal in the mid-Atlantic region, which includes the Philadelphia Zoo and The National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Attendees will also see the new floor – leveled and coated with an epoxy finish, as well as repainted walls and new lighting.

“Our Nature Center has helped many children and their families connect with nature and science in the 20 years since we began our STEM and environmental programs,” says Brian Raicich, Associate Executive Director at UMLY. “We are very grateful to our donors in helping to provide a much-needed facelift to this center, and we are very excited to share it and to continue our wildlife and nature education with our members, staff and community for many more years to come!”

UMLY’s Environmental and STEM Education Complex consists of the Nature Center, Raptor Center, Micro Farm (which includes vegetable plots, the barn, farm, gardens and hydro gardens), STEM Lab and Cassat Preserve