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Asheville, North Carolina News

WNC Nature Center Begins Renovations on Popular Turtle Exhibit

ASHEVILLE, NC – One of the most popular exhibits at the Western North Carolina Nature Center is about to go through an extensive renovation. For over 20 years, the turtle pond has looked pretty much the same and has provided an excellent opportunity for guests to view 7 species of turtles commonly found in the Southern Appalachians. “Guests love the turtle pond because it allows them to get very close to the animals and to compare several species that might live right in their own backyard” notes Chris Gentile, the Director of the Nature Center. Last winter played havoc on the pond though and staff at the Nature Center noticed the water level falling at an alarming level each day. “It got to the point where we had to fill the pond constantly to keep it at a safe enough level to keep from disturbing the hibernating turtles” says Gentile.

The Nature Center consulted several animal exhibit experts from zoos throughout the country and called on Platinum Ponds of Greer SC to design and construct a new exhibit for the turtles. “We needed a Certified Aquascape Contractor to lead the design” says Gentile, “these professionals are experts in not only creating waterscapes, but have an advanced knowledge of the life support needs of aquatic animals such as turtles”. The new exhibit calls for the construction of a natural filtration wetlands that will prevent the need for a “conventional” filter cutting down on maintenance costs dramatically. There will also be a cascading waterfall that will naturally oxygenate the water as it recycles through the system. “The new turtle pond at the Nature Center will look as if its been there for years, but will feature the latest design in eco-friendly waterscapes” says Richard Panten, Owner of Platinum Ponds, “we will create a habitat that will provide all of the areas the turtles need including sunny basking spots and deep water hibernation areas where they can sleep away the cold winters”.

Work on the renovation begins on May 31st and should be completed in a few weeks. While the turtles are off exhibit, the Nature Center veterinary staff is outfitting all of them with microchips to help better identify them.

For more information, contact Chris Gentile, Director of the Western North Carolina Nature Center, at 828-298-5600 ext 303.

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