The Howard County Conservancy will kick off its annual Wine in the Garden, Beer in the Barn festival May 25 with a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of its newly renovated Gudelsky Environmental Education Center.
The expanded center, which cost about $1.8 million, will offer nature education programming and sweeping views of the conservancy's 232-acre Mt. Pleasant Farm, according to Executive Director Meg Boyd.
The center's expansion, which the conservancy announced in 2015, will more than double the space for education programs, according to a press release. The space will allow larger school groups to visit, provide space for multiple groups at the same time and better accommodate visitors during inclement weather, Boyd said.
The expanded center is also more integrated with the conservancy's garden and historical features. The building opens directly into the three-acre native plant garden, offers a covered outdoor classroom and features a covered deck on the second level with views of the garden, the historic farm buildings and the rolling hills of the 300-year-old Mt. Pleasant farm, Boyd said.
"The vista is really stunning," Boyd said. "It's a beautiful view."
County Executive Allan Kittleman and new school superintendent Michael Martirano are expected to attend Thursday's ribbon cutting with other elected officials and project donors, Boyd said.
After the ceremony, the Wine in the Garden event will offer wine, craft beer and live music in the native plant garden. The conservancy expects more than 500 guests at the event, and will have staff on hand to offer tours of the Gudelsky Center, Boyd said. Visitors ages 21 and older can purchase tickets at the door for $55, or online through May 24 at http://hcconservancy.org/wine.
Tours of the Gudelsky center will also be offered on June 10 starting at 10 a.m. during the conservancy's Family Open House.