And Carter is ready to offer those challenges to any student who is willing to come and volunteer with the Liberty Nature Center, which is expected to provide a number of educational opportunities.
The new facilities will be state-of-the-art and will include a lab area. The new program will also offer students experience and training in business, advertising, journalism, photography, technology, management, and scientific research.
“This is really going to make a difference for the students,” said Kinney, who will return and work full-time with the Liberty Nature Center after he graduates from UK in 2015.
Kinney and Carter have plans to include other creatures in the center, including reptiles.
But first priority in the coming months will be the construction of aviaries and housing for the program’s current animals — around 25 raptors — along with office space and restrooms.
After those are built, a picnic shelter, an outdoor amphitheater and nature trails will be added.
The Liberty Nature Center will offer seasonal hours for public visits, educational and hands-on programs, places for family and group outings, and “ ... most importantly a safe and fun place to connect with nature for citizens of our region,” said Kinney.
Kinney and Carter are looking forward to building a center that could be a significant draw for those in Pulaski County and surrounding areas.
“It’s going to take us a few years to get there,” Carter cautioned.
But those who benefit from the program will be, first and foremost, the students of Pulaski County.
“It’s not a Southwestern kid thing, it’s a raptor kid thing,” said Carter.
A support rally and bonfire, hosted by the Liberty Nature & Raptor Center Boosters, Inc., is slated for this Friday at 5 p.m. on the new Liberty Nature Center location. The event, dubbed “Ignite the Flight,” will give people the opportunity to take in the new property and hear details on construction and business plans from those involved before the center is completed and opened to the public.
To get to the new location, drive on Slate Branch road until you come to the four-way stop. Turn left onto Bridge Hollow Road. The property is about a mile down that road.
Signs will also direct motorists to the new nature center.
For more information on the Liberty Nature Center, go to www.libertynaturecenter.org or to the center’s Facebook page at :