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The Winnebago County Conservation Board and the Friends of Winnebago County Conservation Foundation have announced their “Educating and Connecting Generations Naturally” Capital Campaign has topped the $1 million fundraising mark.

The Campaign has been raising money since June of 2018 to build an environmental education center in Winnebago County, with a $1.2 million goal. And now, thanks to several grants and many private donations, the two organizations have raised over 80% of that goal.

As a result, preliminary work is now beginning on the center. The first step towards construction was recently completed, with the installation of a septic system at the site. Other work this fall will include site preparation dirt work and the removal of a grove of trees. The grove currently consists of “weedy” trees such as box elder, mulberry and ash that are of minimal benefit to wildlife. They will eventually be replaced with trees and shrubs that will be more beneficial.

Fundraising will continue throughout the winter to reach the $1.2 million goal. To help achieve that goal, all donations made for a limited time will be matched dollar for dollar, thanks to a generous donation from Randy and Mary Jane Hagenson.

As fundraising continues, the plan is to let bids over the winter so actual building construction can begin next spring or summer. It is then hoped a grand opening can be scheduled for some time later in 2020.

For more information about the environmental education center project, people can contact the WCCB at 641-565-3390 or visit the WCCB web site at winnebagoccb.com.

People wishing to help the campaign reach its goal can download a pledge form or donate online at the website.

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