In an effort to protect the common loon, the National Loon Center Foundation is creating the National Loon Center, an interactive educational destination that will transform visitors into champions for loons and fresh water everywhere.
To be located in Crosslake, the center will focus on loon species protection and freshwater habitat conservation through citizen science and technology. The entire project is to be built on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Crosslake day use area.
A grant of $750,000 will support the construction of the new center. Jim Anderson, president of the National Loon Center Foundation, said in a news release: “During these extremely difficult times, we feel very fortunate and humbled to receive this grant from The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation. We hope this major gift will continue to inspire Minnesota Philanthropists to help us to answer the call of the loon.”
Since 2017, volunteers and community-based partners have contributed more than $1 million to pay for planning, engineering studies and community engagement to date. Additionally, the local Founders Circle has donated more than $200,000 toward further development of plans, permits and curriculum efforts.
In 2019, The National Loon Center Foundation was awarded $4 million by the state of Minnesota/Environmental Natural Resource Trust Fund. This state money is contingent on securing an additional $6 million that is needed to break ground on the center.
Estimated groundbreaking for outdoors exhibits and restoration is winter 2020-21. The center will break ground once the foundation has reached its total project fundraising goal of $13 million.
The National Loon Center Foundation has incredible support. Major partners include: Initiative Foundation, Environmental Natural Resource Trust Fund, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Widseth Architects/Engineers, city of Crosslake, Brainerd Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, University of Minnesota, Central Lakes College, Minnesota United Football Club/The Loons Soccer Team, and now The Margaret A. Cargill Foundation Fund at the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation.
More information is available at https://www.nationallooncenter.org/.