As the November 2020 Friends of the Randell Research Center newsletter goes to print, Visitor Center Restrooms and Gift Store changes to enhance public health and safety features are nearing completion.
A craving for donuts and clever thinking by Andy Jendrusiak, our Grounds & Maintenance Specialist, led to door tissue dispensers for touch-free access and his master plumber skills came through on conversion of the drinking fountain to a foot-pedal operated hands-free bottle filling station. Restroom fixtures will offer touchless operation for added peace of mind.
Dave Roscioli, our carpenter, built a cabinet for trash and recycling bins to maintain tidiness while discouraging raccoons and is using his craftsman skills to convert a closet into a staff space with checkout window for gift store transactions. Staff and customers will be required to wear face coverings inside their respective spaces in accordance with University of Florida policy. An exit path from the building to the parking lots is in place and some areas on the trail are widened so visitors can maintain physical distancing. Jim Niehaus is coordinating the projects with a keen eye toward public and employee well-being
Private guided tours are now available by request, all group members must appropriately wear a face covering for the tour duration. Volunteer docents and staff guides will also appropriately wear face coverings. Public tours begin in January, the Trail is open sunup to sundown daily for self-guided visits.
Education offerings continue via digital platforms. Two sessions of the Conservation Science module of the Florida Master Naturalist Program were taught in September and October and our staff is collaborating with the education team at the Florida Museum for programs available across the state to Grade 4 teachers.
More details on reopening plans will be posted to our website, sent by email, and added to social media. Feel free call us at 239-283-2062 for further information or to schedule a tour. We look forward to seeing you and continuing to learn and teach about the archeology, history and ecology of Southwest Florida.