The Asbury Woods Nature Center is located at 4105 Asbury Rd, (1/4 south of West 38th Street in Millcreek Township) Erie, PA 16506; 814.835.5356. The popular 2.2 mile Asbury Woods Greenway Trail can be accessed from two main trail heads, located across the street from Asbury Woods Nature Center and at Brown’s Farm Barn. Visit their website and specifically the Nature Center and Facebook pages. Watch the 2:08 Asbury Woods Nature Center – Project of the Week 12/4/17 video from Greenroofs.com on the greenroofsTV channel on YouTube. Greenroofs.com Project of the Week 12/04/17 video photo credits: Courtesy of Roofmeadow, Domokur Architects, and Asbury Woods Nature Center.
See the project profiles from Domokur Architects and DCD. The June 9, 2005 “DEP Energy Harvest Grant Brings ‘Green Roof’ to Asbury Woods Nature Center Expansion” news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is no longer available online.
The Asbury Woods Nature Center sits on over 205 acres of rich, ecologically diverse land in northwestern Pennsylvania and is a state-of-the-art regional nature center with 4.5 miles of hiking trails. The Center is free and open to the public year-round.
The mission of Asbury Woods is to provide all members of the community with opportunities to experience, study and enjoy nature. Their purpose is to inspire participants to feel a greater sense of environmental awareness and to act in an environmentally responsible way. Asbury Woods Nature Center operates through a public-private partnership between the Asbury Woods Partnership, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and the Millcreek Township School District.
“While retaining its original cottage look and hometown nature center feel, today’s Asbury Woods Nature Center is a model of sustainable design with a focus on energy conservation. All elements of the Center’s design are based on the following 4 E’s: Environment impact, Economic value, Experience for the visitor and Educational value,” (Asbury Woods Nature Center website). Sustainable features include use of recycled materials, geothermal and passive solar heating, use of sustainable materials, water efficiency, energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, and a green roof.
In November of 2005, Asbury Woods Nature Center opened its doors to the new 7,800 square-foot addition along with modern updates to the existing 1930’s cottage. Included in this addition is a 2,300 square-foot Exhibit Hall (featuring live animal habitats, a turtle pond, an amphitheater/program area, and a live honeybee hive exhibit) and three new classrooms, plus the 5,000 square foot vegetative roof that visitors see as they enter the building. The green roof covers the Exhibit Hall, Welcome Center, Gift Shop, Discovery Room, Administrative Offices, and the Family Restroom.
The Asbury Woods Nature Center green roof, funded through a Department of Environmental Protection Harvest Grant, was a key component of the expansion and renovation of the Asbury Woods Nature Center, which is owned by the Millcreek School District. It serves as a compelling educational component of the nature center’s curriculum. The Center, through the Millcreek Township School District, has offered environmental education opportunities to tens of thousands of children and adults. Pennsylvania DEP awarded Millcreek Township School District with the $63,892 Energy Harvest grant as part of the state’s drive to make the Commonwealth a leader in advanced energy technology.
“Over the years, tens of thousands of children and adults have learned about the environment at Asbury Woods Nature Center through Millcreek Township School District activities and public programs that the center hosts throughout the summer,” Millcreek School District Supervisor of Administrative Services Ken Borland said. “Our expansion project triples the space that we have available for environmental education and the green roof is literally the frosting on the cake.”
“We always are looking for ways to make the center’s operation more sustainable and environmentally friendly,” Asbury Woods Nature Center Director Brian Winslow said. “Once this project is completed, visitors will find a new attraction at the center that goes hand in hand with clean air and clean water. We hope the experience will encourage interest in innovative energy projects throughout Erie County as well as across the Commonwealth,” (Pennsylvania DEP, 2005).
Installed in May 2005, this roof was planted using two methods. A Sedum carpet tops the dramatic barrel-vaulted roof with pitches up to 7:12, creating a striking counterpoint to the forested surroundings of the Asbury Woods Nature Center. The un-irrigated Type I vegetative roofing system has 5 inches of media which includes a variety of alpine plants adapted to live in the harsh extremes of weather on a roof such as Allium schoenoprasum (chives) and Talinum calycinum. In the flat portion cuttings of various Sedum species were used including S. sexangulare, S. sieboldii, and S. spurium.
Desiring to improve green roof education, Director Brian Winslow had a small curved informational kiosk planted at the building entrance to inform visitors. Installed by Lichtenfels Nursery, the Roofmeadow contractor who also installed the Asbury Woods Nature Center living roof, the kiosk provides signage and welcome shade.