Constructing To Conserve

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Every year we hear about the destruction of rainforests and the effects of global warming — and how loss of habitat contributes to the threat of endangerment or extinction for many animal species. The National Wildlife Federation works to inform the public and politicians about this danger. With this water feature, which is positioned outside of the NWF's new national headquarters, the organization shows just how beautiful the preservation of wildlife habitats can be.

David Duensing of Jacksonville, Fla.based Sweetwater Design Group created the aquatic ecosystem to help promote the NWF's programs, demonstrating ways to replace lost natural habitat and establish wildlife environments in our own backyards. The project is consistent with the architecture of the building and also entirely self-contained. Pumps recirculate the water while plants naturally filter it. All of the materials, including plants, stone and fish, are native to the area and provide food and shelter for a variety of animals.

"The reaction to this project has been nothing less than incredible," says Duensing. "The employees, the board members, professional guests are very fond of this environment."

Duensing built the water feature along the front of the building to maximize the view from indoors and outdoors while allowing easy access to the main entrance. He used various plants to create a boundary around the cascading stream, bridge, waterfall and pond, all of which he created on flat land. The biggest obstacles could have been financing the project, but, impressively, all of the funds came from donations to the NWF and donations from manufacturers, suppliers and contractors in the pool and spa industry.

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