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    Ecology Park at Turtle Bay

    by Kim A. O'Connell

    For decades, the natural landscape of Northern California has been devastated by damming, mining, and other resource extraction. Water has been routinely redirected from rural areas to urban centers. Only a small portion of the 375-mile (600-kilometer) Sacramento River continues to flow along its pre-20th-century route.

    Today, an ambitious environmental education park is working to inform attitudes toward this continuing legacy through the use of sustainable architecture and ecologically sensitive exhibits. Located in Redding, California on the banks of the Sacramento, the Turtle Bay Exploration Park and Museum is a fusion of indoor and outdoor learning, with a particular focus on the local watershed.

    The 300-acre (120-hectare) park features gardens, trails, wildlife exhibits, and a large museum, which opened in June,2002. The $82 million project also includes a glass-decked pedestrian bridge designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. When completed in 2004, the bridge will act as a sundial and will span the Sacramento River to guide visitors to a 200-acre (80-hectare) arboretum.

    Turtle Bay is the brainchild of four organizations the Carter House Natural Science Museum, the Redding Arboretum by the River, the Forest Museum, and the Redding Museum of Art and History. This partnership selected three design firms to collaborate on the project which features landscape architecture by the Portico Group, interior exhibit design by AldrichPears Associates, and architecture by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    The boardwalk and visitor center at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding California.
    Photo: Karl A. Backus

    ArchWeek Image

    Entrance to the Turtle Bay Museum, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
    Photo: Kurt Hoffmann

     

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