Manlius, N.Y. (NCC News) — Despite temperatures dropping to below 40 degrees on Tuesday, Green Lakes State Park was packed with families hiking, playing and relaxing by the water. For a cold winter afternoon, Central New York’s most popular park was full of people. Now, Green Lakes is home to more than its beautiful beaches, golf course, and picnic areas. Green Lakes staff has now shifted their focus to something different, a newly opened environmental education center.
The new center is part of a $6 million renovation initiative started by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Governor and the New York State legislature approved the funding to revitalize parks and recreation centers across the state.
“It’s a really big commitment that New York State has to connecting kids to parks,” said Green Lakes Environmental Education Manager Kate Mulverhill.
Mulverhill believes that the center is helping local students learn more about the environment, agriculture, and biology in a new interesting way. Green Lakes staff has begun field trip programs which teach children about the wildlife in the park, including different species of fish and birds. However, she believes the center will do more than educate local children.
“A lot of students don’t have the opportunity to learn from a natural setting, and now children can come and learn in a new way,” Mulverhill said.
According to Mulverhill, millions of people come to visit Green Lakes each year and more are on their way. With the new influx of tourists, Mulverhill says that the surrounding areas might be affected as well.
“I think the new center definitely has an impact on the local economy, people come all year long and are spending even more now,” Mulverhill said.