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News :: New Conservation Director Purdy makes Nature Center first priority
· 1:40pm August 21st, 2012
While the former Benton County Conservation Director is in the headlines, the new director is quietly working behind the scenes, rebuilding the department and focusing on its newest project: The Nature Center.
Matthew Purdy is an Oelwein native, but has spent the last several years in Florida, working as a Ranger for Lee County.
But when he and his wife Wendy, welcomed their first child, daughter Maryn, they decided Iowa would be a much better place to raise her.
Purdy began his new job in April.
'He has been doing an outstanding job since he joined the staff," said Conservation Board member Mark Pingenot.
On Tuesday, the day after former the investigation into Conservation Director Will Heber’s fuel purchases became statewide news, Purdy was busy working behind the nature center, helping department employee Everett Leonard build part of the outdoor classroom.
As he worked, he discussed the goals for the project. There will be places for children to climb on logs or crawl through a tunnel, as well as a fire pit, several other structures designed to help people both enjoy and study nature, several logs to climb on and eventually, a pond.
Inside, Purdy and his staff have many more plans for new displays in the Nature Center.
“The Nature Center has kind of been on the back burner for a while,” Purdy explains.
Volunteer Day Sept. 8
But for now the Nature Center is a top priority. There will be a volunteer day on Saturday, Sept. 8, in which area residents are invited to help work on that outdoor classroom area. Purdy plans to begin work at 8, and hopefully be done around noon. He hopes to get most of the outdoor classroom finished before winter begins, when the Conservation Department will work on the inside of the nature center.
The Benton County Conservation Foundation continues to raise funds for the Nature Center. Brian Parr recently completed the work on the Cargill sign for the basement area, where a room is named in honor of the company, which donated $50,000 toward the Nature Center.
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