About the TREC
The Tom Ridge Environmental 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, a Presque Isle 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 "Big Green Screen" theater is equipped with the most modern technology available for large-format movie projection. Get as close to reality as you can get without being there. Put yourself in the middle of the action!
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 true travel destination and Erie Visitor Center with interactive exhibits, a retail nature shop, a Cafe and information about the major tourist and recreational attractions in Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania.
The Tom Ridge Environmental Center Foundation is dedicated to providing a home and funding for local environmentalists and to serve our community. The Tom Ridge Environmental Center provides a place of work for multiple local organizations including Environment Erie, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, PA Sea Grant, Purple Martin Conservation Association & the Regional Science Consortium. The center has numerous educational programs, offers interactive displays of natural history and more.
Unique Green Features of The Tom Ridge Environmental Center
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 that 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 to 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
Solar Panel Arrays and low-level LED lighting diplays