EcoTarium Announces $600,000 Yawkey Foundations Grants

Award in support of Wild Cat Station and Ongoing Operations
Release Date: 
Monday, June 26, 2017

WORCESTER, MASS. – The EcoTarium, a museum of science and nature, is pleased to announce a $600,000 grant awarded by the Yawkey Foundations Board of Trustees. The grant designates $500,000 toward Phase Two of the EcoTarium’s Third Century Plan Campaign project, Wild Cat Station, and $100,000 to support ongoing operations.

Wild Cat Station is the final of four capital projects to be completed in Phase Two of the EcoTarium’s Third Century Plan Campaign. The campaign is part of the Third Century Plan, a larger strategic effort to reinvigorate the EcoTarium’s campus, visitor experience, and community impact, as it approaches its 200th anniversary in 2025. These efforts will allow the EcoTarium to advance its mission to inspire a passion for science and nature and provide innovative informal learning opportunities well into the future. The first three capital projects were: connection of the museum to the electrical grid, renovation of the Explorer Express Train exhibit, and the opening of the museum’s largest indoor exhibit, City Science.

When completed, Wild Cat Station will span nearly an entire acre and will include a mountain lion exhibit, bird mews, a multi-purpose educational plaza, and a wildlife care building. Through innovative design and re-purposing, Wild Cat Station will incorporate and transform the existing polar bear habitat, creating a new iconic experience. The mountain lion exhibit itself will be more than two stories tall, offering multiple viewing stations for guests.

“We are pleased to make this gift to the EcoTarium, which will further our organizations’ mutual goal to improve the quality of life of children, families, and the underserved,” said, James Healey, Yawkey Foundations president and trustee. He continued, “The partnership between the Yawkey Foundations and the EcoTarium has been ongoing for more than a decade and we are excited to see the positive impact the museum has made in the Worcester community.”

Joe Cox, EcoTarium president said, “The Yawkey Foundations have been thoughtful supporters of the EcoTarium for many years, ensuring that we continue to grow as an accessible resource for all in our community. This gift marks a continuing partnership in bringing world-class science and nature exhibits, educational programs, and more, to the people of Central Massachusetts.”

Healey added, “With growing recognition as a national leader among small and mid-sized science and nature museums, the EcoTarium is taking its long history of success to new levels.”

About the EcoTarium
EcoTarium is New England's leading museum of science and nature, an indoor-outdoor experience dedicated to inspiring a passion for science and nature in visitors of all ages. Founded in 1825, it has been a leader in informal science and nature education for nearly 200 years, and today welcomes more than 165,000 visitors per year. Highlights of the 55-acre campus include a museum building with three floors of interactive exhibits, the Alden Digital Planetarium: A National Geographic Theater, daily Science Discovery programs, live animal habitats, nature trails through forest and meadow, seasonal narrow-gauge railroad Explorer Express Train, and its expansive interactive outdoor exhibit, Nature Explore®.

The EcoTarium, located at 222 Harrington Way in Worcester, Mass., is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sundays 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. General admission is $18 for adults, $14 for children 2-18, $14 for seniors 65+ and students with ID, and children under 2 are free. Planetarium shows and Explorer Express Train require additional ticket. Parking is free. For more information, visit ecotarium.org.

About the Yawkey Foundations
The Yawkey Foundations trace their origins back over eight decades to the philanthropic commitments of Tom and Jean Yawkey. With great concern for the forgotten and underserved, Tom and Jean Yawkey took careful steps to ensure that their legacy would live on through the work of the Yawkey Foundations. They were particularly interested in supporting organizations that encouraged educational opportunities, improved health care, enhanced human service programs, provided youth and amateur athletic opportunities, celebrated arts and cultural endeavors, and valued conservation efforts. The 2002 sale of the Boston Red Sox added more than $400M in proceeds to the Foundations.