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Wetlands programs will grow in 2011
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Pam Martin teaches a group of grade school students about the animals found in Cheyenne Bottoms.

Though it’s not even two years old, the Kansas Wetlands Education Center — located at Cheyenne Bottoms — had contact with more than 23,500 visitors last year. And it’s got plenty of plans to grow more this year, the Great Bend City Council was told this week.
Wetlands Site Manager Curtis Wolf told the council that the center had 8,349 drop-in visitors, which averaged to 27 per day.
It also had:
• 112 on-site programs during the year with 3,204 participants.
• 81 outreach programs with 3.900 participants.
• 26 facility rentals with 600 participants.
• Eight trade show booths with an estimated 7,500 contacts.
That all adds up to 23,553 contacts for the year, Wolf reported.
Wolf told the council that accomplishments for 2010 included:
• Hosted 29 schools from 21 communities.
• Visited 15 schools in nine communities.
• Hosted second graders from USD 428 with 243 students spending the day at the Wetlands.
• Participated in several community events in Great Bend, Hoisington and Ellinwood.
• Became an active partner in the Friends of Cheyenne Bottoms group.
• Developed the Wetlands Nature Trail.
• Purchased a 12-passenger van and began offering guided tours of the Bottoms.
Program plans will continue to grow in 2011, Wolf said.
Plans call for:
• Organizing the Wings N Wetlands Festival, which will involve the byway corridor communities.
• Plan the second annual Wetlands Day.
• Develop research facilities, build shade structures and add a butterfly garden at the site.
• Provide information signs to help drivers find the site.
• Develop a marketing plan.
• Provide a monthly column in the Tribune to help keep the public educated about Wetlands programs.