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About TREC

The Tom Ridge Center looks like it rises naturally from its surroundings at the entrance to Presque Isle State Park.  Here in this two-story structure of brick, glass and steel, visitors will discover a 75-foot observation tower, 7,000 square feet of exhibits, an orientation theater, aquariums, a research wing and a nature shop. Among the most impressive features of the center is a large-format theater, the first of its kind in the Pennsylvania state park system.  The $3 million, 6,500 square foot theater is equipped with the most modern technology available for large-format movie projection.

The Tom Ridge Environmental Center includes the following:

  • An educational resource with displays and exhibits, indoor and outdoor classrooms, interpretive programs and more.
  • A research center, where scientists from across the United States and Canada study the Great Lake watersheds and the life of Presque Isle and its plant and animal inhabitants.
  • A travel destination with interactive exhibits, a retail nature shop, a food court and information about the major tourist and recreational attractions of northwestern Pennsylvania.

The Friends of The Tom Ridge Environmental Center are dedicated to providing a home and funding for local environmentalist and to serve our community. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center provides a place of work for multiple local organizations including: Earth Action (previously Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force), PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, PA Sea Grant, Purple Martin Conservation Association & Regional Science Consortium. Goals in our office range from the study of watersheds and the effects produced to the eco-system to educating the community about our natural world. The center has over 20 of its own educational programs, offers interactive displays of natural history and more.

Green Features of TREC

  •  Ample bicycle storage to encourage alternative transportation
  • Changing facilities for employees who bike to work
  • Reduced site disturbance by using already-developed building site
  • Preserved open space
  • Porous parking lot – reduces stormwater runoff and on-point pollution
  • Native plants utilized in landscaping that reinforces the ecology of the peninsula and negates the need for irrigation
  • Exterior shading of windows to reduce cooling costs
  • Translucent panels reduce reflectivity lessening likelihood of bird strikes
  • Almost all building materials came from within a 500-mile radius thereby reducing the need to burn fossil fuels
  • Many materials incorporated have a high-recycled content such as steel, carpet, wheat board and linoleum
  • Rainwater collection system for reuse in toilet flushing
  • White roof that reflects sun and reduces cooling
  • Raised floor system stat serves as a plenum and provides maximum flexibility
  • Operable windows that allow for fresh air exchange
  • Building oriented southward to take advantage of heating and sunlight exposure
  • Light colors incorporated to landscaping to reduce heat islands
  • Designed luminance levels reduce light pollution on surrounding properties
  • Low on no VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) used in all adhesives, glues and paints
  • Building flushout to maximize indoor air quality
  • All building systems are required to be commissioned by certified commissioning agent
  • Recycling storage and accessibility
  • All construction waste was minimized and accounted for
  • Daylight incorporated into 75% of the building spaces

Come Join Us…For Now…For the Future

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