New $18 Million Energy and Nature Education Center to be Built at Jones Beach State Park
1 Apr, 2019
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new $18 million Energy and Nature Education Center will be built at Jones Beach State Park. In a public-private partnership with PSEG Long Island, the Long Island Power Authority, New York Power Authority and private donors, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will construct an interactive facility to encourage visitors of all ages to become good stewards of the environment and smart energy consumers. State Parks will also designate the park’s West End a Park Preservation Area to enhance protection of its significant maritime coastal habitat.
“The addition of the Energy and Nature Center highlights New York’s progress in revitalizing historic Jones Beach State Park and our commitment to providing the very best recreation and tourism opportunities to both residents and visitors,” Governor Cuomo said. “This investment will continue to boost tourism across the region, while preserving our environment and encouraging visitors to support our State’s outdoor resources.”
The new, net-zero Center will be designed to produce as much electricity as it consumes and convey its efficiency to visitors with real-time data displays, setting an example of sustainable and resilient design. Through a variety of hands-on exhibits and programs, visitors to the Center will gain an understanding of Long Island’s various ecosystems and learn how to use energy wisely, conserve water and create a more resilient and sustainable future. Featured exhibits will highlight how electricity is generated and distributed; how renewable power resources connect to the grid and the home; and how consumers can manage energy more efficiently to lower our carbon footprint.
The Energy and Nature Education Center will also provide modern space to expand and enhance the park’s environmental education programs, including classroom space to instruct consumers in passive and renewable energy techniques. Project renderings of the new Energy and Nature Education Center are available here.
State Parks will also designate 218.5 acres of the Jones Beach State Park’s West End as a Park Preservation Area. Park Preservation Areas recognize park lands that possess outstanding ecological values, including plant and animal life, that are unique or rare in the state. Designation as a Park Preservation Area fosters a high level of stewardship by maintaining the ecological integrity of the preservation area through the management of all unique, rare, threatened, or endangered species of flora and fauna; limiting development to appropriate passive recreation such as hiking, fishing and birding; and encouraging scientific research, study and public environmental education. The designation makes the Park’s West End one of only 16 Park Preserves or Park Preservation Areas in the state park system. Exhibits and programs at the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center will teach visitors what a Park Preservation Area is and how the designation benefits the park and its plant and animal life.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “With over six million visitors Jones Beach each year, the Energy and Nature Center will provide an incredible opportunity to help people become better stewards of Long Island by better understanding the connections between energy and the environment. I am tremendously grateful to Governor Cuomo and our partners at PSEG Long Island, LIPA and NYPA for helping create this one-of-a-kind facility that will serve the educational needs of one of New York’s most distinctive state parks.”
Dan Eichhorn, President and CEO of PSEG Long Island, said, “We’re a strong believer in giving back to our communities. We are especially pleased to support this innovative project by bringing interactive educational programs to Long Island’s youth, while preserving a beloved natural habitat.”
LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone said, “The Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center will be a premier Long Island destination to learn more about the exciting world of energy. Families and schools can explore fun and interactive workshops and classes while businesses and consumers can get a first-hand look at new technologies and ways to save energy. LIPA is proud to be part of this project and I applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued investment into Long Island’s education and energy future.”
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “The Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center will be a valuable educational resource that shares the lessons of Long Island’s natural environment with visitors looking to further their appreciation of the outdoors. This effort is part of our long-term partnership with State Parks where we will lead by example in promoting the use of solar power and other technologies to make New York State’s park system cleaner and greener and achieve a zero carbon footprint.”
Senator John E. Brooks said, “Investing in Long Island and ensuring our communities sustainably grow and prosper for generations is one of my top priorities. I thank Governor Cuomo for his work establishing the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and my Senate Democratic Majority colleagues to ensure we provide Long Island communities with the state aid, support, and tax relief they deserve.”
Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “Our parks are an invaluable source of recreation, beauty and enjoyment to millions of residents and tourists each year. With this new Energy and Nature Education Center, we are encouraging even more visitors to experience all Jones Beach has to offer, while setting an example for sustainable design. I thank Governor Cuomo for his continued investments in Jones Beach and all of Long Island.”
Senator Kemp Hannon said, “The Energy and Nature Education Center will be an incredible addition to the Jones Beach State Park, which is the crown jewel of State Parks on Long Island. Not only will this new center attract visitors from across the nation, it will bring interactive educational programs to our residents, encouraging and more sustainable New York for all. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to improving our Parks throughout all of New York.”
Assembly Member David G. McDonough said, “Jones Beach State Park is an ideal destination for residents and tourists. The addition of the new Energy and Nature Education Center will encourage these many visitors to the park to become better stewards of the land and discover new ways to save energy. I thank Governor Cuomo for this innovative addition to our park, and look forward to seeing the effects of these environmentally sustainable changes.”
Assembly Member Christine Pellegrino said, “With the addition of the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Education Center, we are putting dollars into what we value most on the South Shore of Long Island: our environment, our clean water, and our education. This center will not only promote increased tourism to Jones Beach, its sustainable, net-zero design and educational programs on the benefits of renewable energy will set an example for all who visit or live here. As a life-long Long Islander and member of the Assembly Committees on Energy and Environmental Conservation, I am grateful for the State Parks’ leadership on preserving natural habitats and revitalizing Historic Jones Beach State Park.”
Jones Beach currently serves approximately 10,000 visitors at its outdated nature center at West End 1. The new Energy and Nature Education Center will be built at West End 2, replacing an existing building on site. Nature Center programs will be moved to the new facility. State Parks will present information on the project to the public as design proceeds.
This project continues the State’s revitalization of historic Jones Beach State Park, which is part of the Governor’s NY Parks 2020 Plan, a multi-year commitment of $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. Since 2011, State Parks has completed more than $50 million in projects to restore Jones Beach State Park’s historic grandeur, attract new visitors and create new recreational facilities as part of a multi-year revitalization initiative. Projects completed include the new Boardwalk Café, rehabilitation of the West Bathhouse and Field 6 Bathhouse, restoration of the historic park mosaics, new playgrounds at the West Games Area and Zach’s Bay, new gateway signage and boardwalk upgrades.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 71 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $5 billion in park and visitor spending, which supports nearly 54,000 jobs and over $2.8 billion in additional state GDP. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.