Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT: Hugh Vickery
For Immediate Release:July 15, 2004
Secretary Norton Announces White House Award in Recognition of Environmentally-Friendly Building at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

(WASHINGTON) - Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton says Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and its community partners have been selected for the 2004 White House "Closing the Circle" award in recognition of the refuge's new environmentally friendly education and administrative center.

"I am very proud to announce this special award earned by the professional staff and the community partners of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge," Secretary Norton said today. "This facility represents a new standard in innovative technology and sustainable design. Every day, this facility demonstrates how we can improve upon our stewardship of our natural resources and provide a welcome and educational place for visitors."

The White House 'Closing the Circle' Award recognizes the Refuge's sustainably designed facility, the Herbert H. Bateman Educational and Administrative Center (Bateman Center). Opened to the public in 2003, the Bateman Center achieves minimal impacts to our natural environment through efficient energy and water consumption, careful selection of the building site, and use of post-consumer recycled content and sustainably harvested construction materials.

Collaborating with local community members, Refuge visitors, The Nature Conservancy, the National Park Service (NPS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chincoteague staff based the design of the Bateman Center to conform to the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria. At each stage of design and construction, the group chose to minimize the building's life-cycle costs and environmental impacts. Cost savings features include a geothermal heating and cooling system, natural day lighting, solar power, energy efficient lighting, natural ventilation, and highly efficient water fixtures.

Innovative technology used at the Bateman Center also provides benefits to the native habitat. The facility's wastewater treatment system is a constructed wetlands area. Filtered wastewater enters the wetland area where bacteria and other organisms living on the roots of plants clean the water. The treated water is reused for flushing toilets. In addition to providing homes for native plants and animals, this safe and efficient water treatment system is an educational tool for Chincoteague Refuge visitors.

To learn more about the Bateman Center and the White House Closing the Circle Award, visit: This program recognizes Federal employees and their facilities for efforts which resulted in significant contributions to or have made a significant impact on the environment. The awards focus on waste prevention, recycling, and green purchasing activities.


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