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Source: Peterborough Examiner.

It’s a dream Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha, has had for five years.

Yesterday that dream became a reality with the official opening of Camp Kawartha Environment Centre.

Located on Trent University property, built by students at Fleming College and fuelled by community donations, including $100,000 from the Gainey Foundation, the building is one of the greenest buildings in the nation.

Located on Pioneer Rd. next to Trent’s Wildlife Sanctuary, the building will be a teaching facility, educating pupils and students about sustainability, alternative energy and the natural world.

Construction began in April and took about 20 weeks to complete.

The walls are insulated with straw bales. The bathrooms compost waste, there’s a rainwater filtration system and solar panels, yet to be installed, will generate electricity.

A tree made of recycled glass bottles decorates one wall. Dried flower prints sit along the top of the windows. The stone floor has animal tracks etched into it.

Bob Gainey, a Peterborough native and general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, and his daughters Anna and Colleen were among the 150 people who attended yesterday’s opening ceremonies.

Anna is the executive director of the Gainey Foundation and was joined by husband Tom Pitfield and their baby son Jackson.

The Gainey Foundation was created in memory of Bob’s daughter Laura and his wife Cathy.

Colleen spoke of her sister Laura as she congratulated everyone for their work.

“I know she’d be beaming right now to see all these old fogies talking about the environment,” she said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

Bob Gainey said he was glad to find a place to direct the Gainey Foundation’s energy.

They will be taking advantage of what the building has to offer in the years to come, he said.

The ceremony was a way to say thanks to the countless people and organizations that helped to turn the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre into a reality. It was hosted by Dan McWilliams, chairman of Camp Kawartha.

“Working together, we all scored a great goal today,” said J. Murray Jones, deputy warden for Peterborough County and reeve of Douro-Dummer Township.

The building is going to be used by students at Trent and Fleming and as a teaching aid for countless school groups and organizations wanting to learn more about the environment.

Teaching children about the environment can be tricky, Rodenburg said.

“It’s so problem-based that it’s really hard to give children hope. But that’s what this building does.”

Within the walls of the environment centre there’s hope of living beyond fossil fuels, he said, and hope that we’re not going to jeopardize the future of our children and grandchildren.

“There’s hope to make this community now a little bit more green and a little more sustainable,” Rodenburg said.

The real value in the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre, Bob Gainey toldThe Examiner, is that people are going to be able to see and touch the sustainable features.

“The inspiration that it brings and the creativity, it’s hard to measure that. And it’s just beginning.”

Rodenburg said the focus is now on letting groups in the community know that the building is open and ready for guests.

“Our goal is to have people in this building every day,” he said.

Rodenburg hopes that his dream, now realized, will be picked up by others hoping to become more environmentally aware.

The Camp Kawartha Environment Centre is like a seed, he said.

“Like any good garden, it spreads.”