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Hempstead Lake Environmental Education and Resiliency Center Opens
New York Ag Connection - 11/12/2021

Governor Kathy Hochul announced the opening of the $8.3 million Environmental Education and Resiliency Center at Hempstead Lake State Park in Nassau County. The 8,000-square-foot center offers hands-on learning on the topics of storm resiliency and environmental management; provides space for community outreach; and serves as an emergency coordination center during disaster response. The center is part of a $35 million parkwide project to reduce flood risk, improve water quality and enhance recreational access along the Mill River corridor as part of Rebuild by Design--Living with the Bay, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"The Hempstead Environmental Education and Resiliency Center is an example of New York State's innovative work to protect the environment in this era of climate change and expand access to healthy outdoor recreation," Governor Hochul said. "Long Islanders know firsthand how the devastating effects of extreme weather are impacting our communities. This Center will equip visitors with knowledge they need to join the fight against climate change, protect our environment for future generations, and encourage people to get out and enjoy this wonderful park."

Each year during Climate Week, New York State raises awareness about the impacts of climate change in conjunction with local, national, and international partners. Climate Week offers the opportunity for the State to continue its leadership on actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve infrastructure resiliency to extreme weather.

The Environmental Education and Resiliency Center is located near the western entrance of Hempstead Lake State Park, close to Lakeview and the Village of Hempstead, two historically underserved and ethnically diverse communities. The Center will serve as a focal point of the park's improved trail connections to the waterfront, as well as direct access to the lake and ponds with kayak launches and fishing piers. The Center features exhibits and information explaining climate change impacts, community resiliency processes, and environmental stewardship, and includes a deck overlooking Hempstead Lake. Additional year-round education programming will enhance the community's understanding of and relationship to the Mill River Watershed.

The Center includes community space for environmental education, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and community organizations. The Nassau County Law Enforcement Explorer Program, run by the Nassau County Police Department, plans to use the Center for local community outreach, combatting gang violence positively engaging young people through mentoring and education.

The facility can also serve as a storm response "Command Post" for local disaster response coordination for first responders, as well as an area for utility companies coordinate equipment staging, enhancing their emergency response to restore critical utilities.

The Center was constructed to reduce environmental impacts with the following key features:

- High performance building envelope and HVAC system.

- Photovoltaic roof panels, LED lighting with occupancy sensing and daylight harvesting to offset electrical usage.

- High-efficiency, low/no water plumbing fixtures.

- Bird friendly window and door glazing.

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