University of Minnesota Extension. Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships
The National Loon Center (NLC) is estimated to be constructed in 2022 in Crosslake,
Minnesota. The purpose of this educational center is to have visitors experience, educate,
and engage with the common loon and the greater northern lakes of Minnesota. The
physical space will combine a series of indoor and outdoor educational exhibits to educate
individuals about the loons and lakes and how they can make a positive impact within their
natural environment. A detailed description is available via the National Loon Center
Master Plan (Singh & Polacek, 2018).
The Schematic Design for the National Loon Center and the Northern Lakes Initiative
serves to translate the abstract educational idea of the National Loon Center into a
physical layout. This report outlines a series of educational exhibits that focus on two
main subjects: the common loon and the northern lakes of Minnesota. Each of the
twenty-two exhibits features five sub-sections: narrative, Description of the Display,
Goals and Outcomes, Storyline and Content, and Expansion Opportunities. These
individual sections serve to ground each exhibit within the overall educational experience
of the National Loon Center. Each exhibit is designed to recognize seven considerations
that are foundational to the National Loon Centers mission and vision: Technology,
Flexibility, Sustainability, Place-centric Design, Citizen Science, Cost, and Inclusivity.
Mission and Vision for the National Loon Center and the Northern Lakes Initiative
Mission: The National Loon Center is dedicated to engaging, educating, inspiring, and
motivating visitors to improve the coexistence of people and loons in our shared habitat,
the northern lakes.
Vision: By engaging, educating, inspiring, and motivating, visitors at the National Loon
Center regarding what humans are doing, not doing, and should be doing to the northern
lakes, we believe we can change people’s perceptions, misconceptions, and actions to
protect the loon, the lakes, and even humankind.
Communication Strategy: The loon is iconic. For many people, the loon represents the
northern lakes area, and, even, a way of life away from the frenzy and pressures of their
daily lives. The loon represents peace, calm, and tranquility. The loon connects people to
nature. People have been attracted and fascinated by the loon for ages. We believe that
the magnetism, or draw of the loon can provide special weight or leverage to
communications about the relationship and the shared importance of lakes to loons and to
people--the lakes and their shared habitat. We intend to use loons as the central focus in
delivering the message about what needs to be understood and then done to protect and
preserve the lakes--for loons and people.
Contributing Partners: University of Minnesota Extension, Central Regional Sustainable
Development Partnership, National Loon Center Foundation, Brainerd Lakes Chamber of
Commerce, Center for Sustainable Building Research, Whitefish Area Property Owners
Association, Crosslakers, National Loon Center, Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund,
National Freshwater Institute, Initiative Foundation, Sourcewell, and Crow Wing County Lakes
and Rivers Alliance . Project funding was provided by the Initiative Foundation, Sourcewell, Central
Regional Sustainable Development Partnership, Crow Wing County Lakes and River Alliance.
National Loon Center & Northern Lakes Initiative Schematic Design - Crosslake, Minnesota.
University of Minnesota Extension. Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships.
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