WORDS: Peggy Kronus
On any given day, you can visit the Mosaic Center for Nature, Exploration, Science and Technology – commonly known as the N.E.S.T. The newest addition to the Robinson Preserve Phase One Expansion, this rare gem is tucked away in the breathtaking surroundings of Robinson Preserve in Northwest Bradenton.
The NEST is a tree house-style classroom and environmental center managed by the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department’s Volunteer and Education Division and is home to a variety of hands-on interpretive programs designed for all ages. With a lookout tower and elevated boardwalks, it provides an exciting new classroom environment for school children and the public alike, as well as a place to hold special educational events for the community.
This two-story, 1,700 square foot building has an elevated heavy timber structure made from both cedar and cypress, with wood floors and walls. The round building was modeled after an octagonal classroom. Being circular in design, it truly has no corners. A spiral staircase connects the two levels of the NEST, creating a periscope-like appearance.
Dave Sessions, President of Willis Smith Construction, explained: “We have been building and working with Manatee County for over 30 years. As leaders in sustainable construction, we were honored to partner with Mosaic to be part of the Phase One Expansion by building the ‘NEST.’ This is truly a landmark within Manatee County that will be here long after we are gone.”
Robinson Preserve’s Phase One Expansion included restoring approximately six acres of the existing 487-acre site, as well as environmental and civil engineering and landscaping design.
For more information about the NEST, visit www.mymanatee.org.