Clambering out of the primordial soup |

Clambering out of the primordial soup

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

Climb from the center of the Earth through bedrock, layers of sediment, bug-infested mud, water and wetlands to reach the surface of the Swaner EcoCenter. It’s a journey rife with elk that bugle and birds that chirp as muskrats and beavers that sound nearby.

The Swaner EcoCenter’s 40-foot climbing wall isn’t just for exercise. It’s also an educational tool, said operations officer Chris Phinney. Completed in late February, the climbing wall features sound effects and murals. It opened the first week of April. It is open every Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. Phinney said the staff has seen a steady flow of patrons eager to climb the wall, and hours will increase in the summer months.

The climbing wall, designed to illustrate a geological cross-section of what lies beneath the ground-level at the preserve, is a handy tool to teach Cub Scout troops and elementary school classes that regularly tour there.

The wall fits in with the EcoCenter’s "green" design that includes animal and land exhibits and weekly nature walks each Wednesday at 10 a.m. Patrons should call ahead to participate in walks by calling the preserve at 649-1767.