Contact: Mike McClanahan

ASHEBORO N.C.—North Carolina State Representative for Halifax and Nash counties, Angela R. Bryant, informed the North Carolina Zoo Society May 1st that the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center has awarded an $80,314 Economic Innovation Grant to help fund Phase-Two development of Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park in Scotland Neck.

During Phase Two, Sylvan Heights will restore five acres of wetlands, construct walkways, and observation platforms including an ADA-approved tree house and develop programs focused on wetlands ecology. This expansion not only advances Sylvan Heights’ conservation, education, and recreation missions, but also contributes to the local economy by further establishing Sylvan Heights as a premier destination for eco-tourists.

Already through Phase-One development, Sylvan Heights has stimulated more than $1.5 million in economic impact for Scotland Neck and Halifax County. During Phase One private donors through the Zoo Society funded construction of Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park. The facility, which opened October 2006, showcases some of the world’s rarest birds in continental-themed exhibit spaces. Sylvan Heights also features a gift shop and conference room and offers educational programming that complements the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.

The Rural Economic Development Center also provided $66,000 toward Phase One. Phase Two will entail a further investment of $350,000. Zoo Society planners expect Phases One and Two to cumulatively bring millions of dollars in economic benefit to Scotland Neck and Halifax County over the next decade. The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center is a private non-profit organization formed in 1987 to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. The center serves the state’s 85 rural counties with a special focus on individuals with low-to-moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. The Rural Center conducts research, policy advocacy, and productivity building.

The North Carolina Zoological Society is a private, non-profit organization that supports the North Carolina Zoo and conservation.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources William G. Ross Jr. Secretary; Michael F. Easley Governor.