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Elachee animal exhibit gets face-lift
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Todd Metcalf, with the Home Depot on Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch, paints one of the walls of the live animal exhibit room at Elachee Nature Science Center. The exhibit is getting a face-lift with new paint and lighting. - photo by Tom Reed

0817ELACHEEaud

Hear Andrea Timpone, executive director of the Elachee Nature Science Center talks about renovations to its live animal exhibit.

Elachee Nature Science Center is renovating its 20-year-old live animal exhibit, with plans to reopen it to the public on Aug. 28.

“It was time (for some work), so we gave it a good cleaning, moved our animals into an adjacent area and have started painting the walls and some of the enclosures,” said Andrea Timpone, executive director at the center off Atlanta Highway near the Chicopee Village.

“The best part is that it’s going to give more eye appeal and be a better educational asset for our visitors,” she said Monday.

In its present state, the exhibit “is well used, well loved and fairly dark,” Timpone said, with a chuckle.

The 1,300-square-foot exhibit is next to the center’s patio area and museum. The center is part of the 1,500-acre Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

The animal exhibit “is by far the most popular exhibit that we have ever had here because people get to experience live animals up close,” Timpone said.

The center primarily houses animals that workers can handle and “use as part of our programs, but we also have a few ... that we don’t handle but use in our programs, such as our tarantula,” Timpone said.

“A lot of our land turtles, our gopher and snakes we handle and use in a lot of our classes.”

The classroom where the animals are being kept through the renovation work isn’t open to the public.

The Home Depot off Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch is helping with the project, providing materials, paint, equipment and volunteer labor, Timpone said.

“Five or six days of work is what it’s taking to get us this far,” she added.

The center also has gotten a grant from the Greater Atlanta Community Foundation to pay for rewiring and electrical work that will provide a “more efficient lighting system that will use less energy,” Timpone said.

“We were able to rewire all our (live animal) enclosures,” she said.

The center is taking some of the money to do some other energy-conserving work, including “converting all our water faucets in public spaces to spring-loaded (ones) so that they can’t be left running,” Timpone said.

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