Audubon's Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary is fundraising for a public project to help accommodate the increasingly large number of school children that visit the site each year. 

The addition of a new pavilion was approved at the site, and plans for its construction have been drawn up; however, the National Audubon Society, a nonprofit dedicated to environmental protections, does not fund such projects at the sanctuary. Rather, it is supported by public donations.

The project, which is approximated at $20,000 according to a newsletter from the Friends of Audubon's Silver Bluff Center, has gathered a significant portion of the necessary funds but is still in need of about $5,000 to complete the project.

While the pavilion could be used as weather-protected outdoor seating for special events, seminars, meetings or trail walkers, its primary purpose would be to provide another venue for educational programs, which began at Audubon in 2002.  

"Over the years, tens of thousands of school children and adults have participated in environmental studies at Silver Bluff Audubon," the newsletter reads. "Now we are experiencing growing pains. The popularity of the program has grown to the point where often three classes of students are here at one time – but there are only two classrooms."

The pavilion would provide a sheltered area for additional school programs.

"We're all really excited about it, cause it'll be such a benefit to programing on the property here," said Paul Koehler, the sanctuary's director.

The pavilion would be open-air, with a lockable storage area and an outdoor laboratory sink. 

The sanctuary is also asking for donations of picnic tables, which would be named in honor of the donors. 

Donations can be sent to 4542 Silver Bluff Road. Checks should be made out to Silver Bluff Audubon South Carolina. Given that Audubon is a nonprofit organization, donations would be tax deductible.

For more information, call the Audubon's Silver Bluff Center and Sanctuary at 803-471-0291.

Kristina Rackley is a general assignment reporter with the Aiken Standard.