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Ecology And Biology The Main Attraction At New Hardberger Center

Kelli Epp

San Antonio is opening its first major Urban Ecology Center this weekend in Phil Hardberger Park. The city said the new venue is designed as a gathering place for nature studies and major events.

With over 18,000 square feet, the new facility can offer space for everything from gardening classes to large wedding receptions. Parks Project Manager Sandy Jenkins said the facility is built for the purpose of education on anything having to do with nature.

"It has a small office, indoor classroom and gathering hall, which gives the possibility for various education classes, lectures, receptions – any types of things that would provide for an education on ecology and biology," she said.

The facility is a LEED green project, with solar panels and a rain capture system, and the whole area is built to low-impact development standards with re-circulating water for wildlife.

"We have a rainwater and condensate collection center, as well as a bioswale, where rainwater will be collected and re-used," she said.

Jenkins said the city and the San Antonio River Authority are working together to develop interpretive signage for nature studies around the facility.

The $6.3 million project is part of the city’s bond program from 2007 and 2012. Texas Parks and Wildlife also contributed $1 million for the facility. A grand opening is scheduled for Saturday starting with nature hikes at 8 a.m.