WATERVILLE - New exhibits were unveiled at a Tiadaghton Resource Management Center open house Tuesday afternoon, where large windows showed why Pennsylvania was named Penn's Woods.
The open house served as a second opportunity for Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Richard Allan to visit the center, which originally opened in September 2010.
"The first time I was here, there was nothing here," Allan said. "Seeing it now, I'm astonished."
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR./Sun-Gazette
Above, a model train display explains how lumber was harvested in the late 19th centurey near Pine Creek.
A variety of exhibits now fill the 1,200-square-foot center, including a 180-gallon aquarium featuring the state fish - the brook trout - the only fish native to Pine Creek.
"This is a one-of-a-kind resource center that tells the history," Allan said.
That history includes the state's early logging era, represented with tools the workers used, which now hang on a wall, and a working model railroad that shows what timber harvesting looked like at the turn of the century.
"You have to see the model railroad," Allan said. "It's so true to scale."
A miniature mountain with a tree-carrying train moves and whistles when a large red button near it is pressed.
Mixed in with the history of the area is technology to present it with less environmental impact compared to others of its size.
The building received a gold ranking for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, for its use of energy-saving designs, such as cost effective grassy parking areas to reduce storm runoff and the use of locally obtained and recycled materials into the construction process.
By using methods to save energy, Allan said it can serve as an example for others to follow. He pointed out the "green roof," which features a carpet of plants. The "Living Shelter" filters dust and smog, while also insulting and reducing heating and cooling costs.
"(The green roof) is a prime example of the trend we're trying to do," Allan said.
Like Allan, state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, saw the center before it became a walk-through history lesson.
" 'This is going to be here, this is going to be here,' " Everett said he told people about the building's exhibits. "Now it's here."
Now people will be able to learn about the area before they look around the forest, he said.
"This is a centerpiece for Pine Creek Valley," Everett said.
The center, which houses the Bureau of Forestry District 12 office, tells the story of the "Conservation Heroes" who helped saved the forest, in addition to its history.
The exhibit features video vignettes of the major historical figures in state forest conservation and the impact they had.
Unlike exhibits where those who want to learn more have to wear the often-used headphones, people can stand beneath a speaker to hear more about the conservationists or pick up a "wand" and hold it near their ear to learn about ecosystem management, forest protection and recreation.