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Nature Center Celebrates Solar Installation

Sehvilla Mann

The sun did shine Wednesday as the Kalamazoo Nature Center unveiled a new set of solar panels. The Kalamazoo nonprofit is now set to meet about a third of its energy needs with a renewable resource.

A few dozen people gathered by one of the arrays, in the midst of a prairie, for a ceremonial ribbon cutting on the morning of the longest day of the year.

Bill Rose is the president and CEO of the Nature Center.

“A lot of people said, ‘Oh, Michigan in winter! When it gets covered in snow what’s going to happen?’” he says of the panels.

Not to worry, he adds: the panels heat up as they absorb sunlight.

“It’ll get warm enough to begin to melt the snow, and it’ll slide right off. So we don’t even have to come out in the winter with a broom and brush off the snow.”

Rose says he hopes the panels get visitors thinking about renewable energy and climate change. The Nature Center says the arrays will save about 40 cars’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Sehvilla Mann joined WMUK’s news team in January 2014 as a reporter on the local government and education beats. Before that she covered a variety of topics, including environmental issues, for Bloomington, Indiana NPR and PBS affiliates WFIU and WTIU. She’s also written and produced stories for the Pacifica Network and WYSO Public Radio in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Sehvilla holds a B.A. in French from Earlham College and an M.A. in journalism from Indiana University.
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