Monday, Aug. 12, was an exciting day at your Tama County Nature Center. Components for the diorama to be installed as Phase 1, Exhibit Component, were unloaded from a semi that arrived at Otter Creek Lake and Park at 8 a.m. that morning.
It took a couple hours for volunteers and staff to unload the materials into the facility. Unloaded were the land forms for the diorama, many items to be placed into the exhibit, and a large mural which will hang as a backdrop in the exhibit.
The exhibit, once complete, will be on permanent display at the Tama County Nature Center nestled within Otter Creek Lake and Park in central Tama County. Phase 1 includes the creation and installation of a Riparian Diorama depicting habitats of wetlands, rivers and streams in the county. Water quality, the circle of life and painted turtles will all be themes in the completed exhibit component.
Jan Vriesen, Vriesen Studio, Milaca, Minn., is pictured painting the mural at the Tama County Nature Center. Vriesen is a muralist with 42 years experience in the museum field. He has murals scattered around the world.
NOTE: A diorama is a three-dimensional miniature or life-size scene in which figures, stuffed wildlife, or other objects are arranged in a naturalistic setting against a painted background.
"It is so exciting to see the diorama arriving at the Nature Center," states Bob Etzel, Director, Tama County Conservation Board. "Many people from around the county have been raising funds over the past couple decades to see the exhibit component become reality. This will be an exhibit that will stimulate and motivate young and old alike to learn more about the natural world around them."
Much work remains to be done before the diorama is complete with an anticipated target date of mid-October.
Terry Brown, owner and fabricator, of Museum Professionals, and Jan Vriesen, muralist, are presently on site working on the project. Brown is recognized for his work in museums around the country and Vriesen has murals all over the world. The two artisans have combined experience of 64 years in the museum world.
Phase 1 of the Exhibit Component has been made possible by fundraisers and donations of local businesses and supporters of the Nature Center. Also, of great importance has been generous support received through grants from the Tama County Community Foundation and Iowa Great Places program. Recent notice has been received from the Mansfield Charitable Foundation regarding major support to be used towards completion of Phase 2. Fundraising to finance Phase 2, which will complete the Exhibit Component, will begin in the very near future.
"This diorama and other exhibits will be something that all Tama County residents can be proud of. It will be an exhibit of the highest quality and will rival many exhibits of national importance," adds Etzel.
The Tama County Conservation Board will be planning a "grand opening" for the diorama sometime in the spring of 2014. The grand opening event will include many fun and interesting things to do and will be an excellent time to view the exhibit with family and friends.