HCM developed a Master Plan for a 116-acre site in the Caves Valley of Baltimore County, integrating the Irvine Nature Center environmental education mission into the ecology and rural character of the site.
The master plan needed to locate the required nature center program elements while addressing extensive wetland restoration, reforestation and meadow creation within the existing 116 acre site.
Working with ecologists, HCM conducted a natural resources inventory to identify plant communities, wildlife habitats and unique natural features, the results of which directed the placement of program elements. The Irvine Nature Center program included the siting of a 15,000 sf Nature Center, parking, demonstration gardens, festival and picnic areas, and a trail system.
The trail system highlights natural features of the site and interprets the natural and cultural history of the site to visitors. In addition to programmatic needs, the Plan addresses restoration of the land. Extensive wetland restoration, reforestation and meadow creation are integrated into the development of the site and Irvine’s environmental education programs. The Master Plan sensitively guides the development of this new facility while restoring the land to a beautiful and functional natural system.