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Press Release for Friday, April 11, 2008

UNF Dedicates John Golden Environmental Education Pavilion

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida dedicated its new John M. Golden Environmental Education Pavilion today during a ceremony held on campus. The $258,000 facility will be used to expose and educate UNF students and the community to the world of nature.

The 1,000-square-foot Environmental Education Pavilion was named in memory of John M. Golden, UNF’s chief nature trail ranger and environmental educator for almost 20 years. He passed away from lung cancer in 2003.

“It’s so perfectly fitting that our new pavilion is named in honor of John Golden,” said Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, vice president for Student and International Affairs at UNF. “His love of nature/ecology and his willingness to share his expertise with so many of us stands as a beacon of ‘what is possible’ to students and community members who will experience the grandeur of the Environmental Education Pavilion.”

While serving at UNF, Golden was awarded the Mayor’s Individual Award for Environmental Protection and was the recipient of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Wild Neighborhoods Grant. This grant made it possible for 850 low-income children to participate in ranger-guided environmental education programs at the University.

The octagonal-shaped pavilion has a rustic design and is constructed from rough wood timbers. The facility is nestled into the green tree canopy on the shoreline of Lake Oneida, located on UNF’s Wildlife Sanctuary. The pavilion was designed by ENB architects and was built by W.G. Mills.

The education pavilion will function as the headquarters for environmental education programs, which will be held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. In the evenings from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., the facility will be the site for Eco Adventure trip planning sessions, outdoor adventure clinics, workshops and team building activities.

Other uses of the pavilion will include student club and organization meetings as well as University office and organizational retreats, meetings, programs and social functions. The structure will also be available for community rentals and will serve as the home base during the summer for UNF’s annual OspreyEco Adventure Camp.

Funding for the pavilion came from several sources, including campus recreation auxiliary camp operations and Student Government. Private donations were used to equip the facility. From the private donations, the University received Cortiles matching funds, which are state dollars that match private gift funds for educational projects. The state match brought those funds to $32,000.

Student Government contributions enabled the project to build out the Eco Adventure storage area and the Outfitters Center located at the entrance to the pavilion. The Outfitters Center is a check-out area where students can get camping equipment, canoes and kayaks, so they can participate and enjoy the natural environment both on and off the UNF campus.

The Golden Pavilion and Outfitters Center are managed by Campus Recreation, a division of Student Affairs.