News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
July 25, 2012

Media Contact:
Laura Phillips

Miami-Dade Parks and Miami-Dade County District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa to Unveil New Facility at the A.D. Barnes Park Sense of Wonder Nature Center

(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- 
The Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and Miami-Dade County District 6 Commissioner Rebeca Sosa invite the public to join them on Friday, July 27, 2012 as they dedicate the new modular building at the AD Barnes Park Sense of Wonder Nature Center, 3401 SW 72 Ave., Miami.  There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m. with County dignitaries and officials.  Children enrolled in the Miami-Dade Parks "Fit to Play, Green It Up" Summer Camp programs at the park will also attend the festivities.

"This new facility is a wonderful addition, because it will allow more residents of all ages, as well as scouts and school groups, to enjoy and benefit from more, year-round nature based classes and workshops than ever before," said Commissioner Sosa.

The new double-wide modular building (24-feet-wide by 60-feet-long), replaces a previous single-wide modular building. It provides the Center with 1,440 square feet of additional space that includes four offices, a large meeting room, a kitchenette, an ADA accessible bathroom, and an exterior wheelchair ramp.  The improvements were funded with a Community Development Block Grant and park impact fees. The project is a product of the Miami-Dade Parks Architecture and Engineering division in partnership with the Wrangler Construction Company. 

"This improvement is a great example of our Open Spaces Master Plan vision of connecting people and parks for life," said Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys.  "By expanding our facilities for our Eco Adventure nature tours and kids camps; and those of our park partner Common Ground for Conservation, who involve Hispanic residents in environmental initiatives, Miami-Dade Parks is further inspiring public stewardship for our sustainable future."

Parks is partnering with Common Ground for Conservation (CGC) to provide newly envisioned development and operation of the Sense of Wonder Nature Center at A.D. Barnes Park. The partnership's aim is to offer expanded urban environmental education and programs for people of all ages. The joint efforts will create, encourage, and facilitate local community awareness and stewardship introducing new programs and events, which reflect the diverse interests of the Hispanic community and respond to increasing challenges to our natural environment.

"Our organization has proved its leadership role, capacity and experience to address the cultural and linguistic competency needed to serve and accomplish the primary purpose and goal of this partnership. We believe that our community deserves high-quality environmental education and outdoor experience opportunities that challenges them to acquire new knowledge and skills," said Mildred Real, Executive Director of the Common Ground for Conservation.

In addition to the Sense of Wonder Nature Center, the 59-acre park contains a recreation center, picnic pavilions, walking paths, a lake, a baseball field, a swimming pool, and the Miami-Dade Parks Disability Services Leisure Access Center, offering recreational programs for people with disabilities. 

For more information about facility rentals, and recreational programs and activities at AD Barnes Park, including Miami-Dade Parks' summer camps, call 305-662-4124 or visit Miami-Dade Parks.

About A.D. Barnes Park and the Sense of Wonder Nature Center:
A.D. Barnes Park is a 65-acre park nestled in the heart of one of Miami's busiest areas. The park is dedicated to and named after the first Director of the Park and Recreation Department, who strongly believed recreation was important to the lives of every citizen in Miami-Dade County. The park is home to The Sense of Wonder Nature Center and Trail set within one of the few remaining Pine Rocklands in Miami-Dade County. As a result, it has become an "oasis" for migrating birds and, according to the National Audubon Society, is one of the best places to see birds in Miami. It is also included in the statewide Great Florida Birding Trail. The Nature Center is also home to the Miami-Dade Fire Department's Anti-Venom unit's reptile collection. For more information about programs and activities at the Sense of Wonder Nature Center at A.D. Barnes Park, call 305-662-4125, or visit Miami-Dade Parks.

About the Common Ground for Conservation (CGC):
Common Ground for Conservation is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) aimed at helping people develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge to make informed decisions for the benefit of themselves and others, now and in the future, and to act upon these decisions to protect the human health and the environment through education, leadership and volunteerism. Common Ground for Conservation.

About the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department:
Nationally accredited, a three-time winner of the NRPA National Gold Medal Award and winner of the 2009 Florida Governor's Sterling Award for excellence in management and operations, Miami-Dade Parks is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of 260 parks and 12,825 acres of land.  It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world.  Made up of more than just playgrounds and athletic fields, it also comprises out-of-school, sports-development, and summer-camp programs; programs for seniors and people with disabilities; educational nature centers and nature preserves; environmental restoration efforts; arts and culture programs and events; the renowned Zoo Miami and the Deering Estate at Cutler; the Crandon Tennis Center, home of the Sony Ericsson Open; golf courses; beaches; marinas; campgrounds; pools; and more.  For information about Miami-Dade Parks call 3-1-1, or visit Miami-Dade Parks.

To request material in accessible format, information on access for persons with disabilities, or sign language interpreter services (7 days in advance), call 305-755-7848.


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