A year ago today we were preparing for a pretty big day – the official opening of our new home the Living Planet Centre in Woking.
We had moved in just three weeks earlier and were all adapting to our new surroundings, both the building and navigating our way around Woking itself (not to mention finding the best lunch spots!) We were very privileged that Sir David Attenborough agreed to officially open the building, it made the occasion even more special for us all, and is a moment that will stay with many of us pandas for years to come.
So here we are a year later, and when I look back I’m amazed at what we’ve achieved. I can safely say that it has been a whirlwind of animal crafts, treasure hunts, and family events on everything from fairtrade food to Earth Hour.
Over 21,500 people have been through the doors since we opened to the public in January this year. They’ve come for many reasons from meetings to workshops for school and youth groups. But for me one of the greatest things that the Living Planet Centre has given us is the way in which it helps us to meet the general public, to inspire them about the wonders of the natural world through the WWF Experience and to demonstrate the benefits of sustainable buildings through tours of the building.
When we set out on our journey to the Living Planet Centre we aspired to create the greenest building we could in terms of sustainability and design. We aimed to qualify for the award of BREEAM “Outstanding”, the highest award from the world’s foremost environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. On 28 May 2014 we achieved this goal. We have also been nominated for many awards for the building, all recognising the features that make our home so special.
So in celebration of that great day we are opening the Living Planet Centre on Saturday 1 November and welcoming more people into our home to find out a bit more about the endangered species we’re trying to protect through our adoptions, and even trying to inspire you with a few Christmas ideas. We’ll be helping visitors to make birthday cards and party hats from sustainable materials or make a birthday wish for the planet as they ‘pin the leaf to the tree’. We’ll also be showing some films about the amazing work we have been doing over the past year, and offering behind the scenes tours of the building. I’m hoping to see a few more panda faces around too, as our face painters will be on hand to turn you into your favourite animal!
We hope that many people will join us to celebrate this important date in our calendar, but if not then to continue to support us through visiting across the year and go home a little bit more inspired by our wonderful planet.
The Living Planet Centre will be open Saturday 1 November 1-5pm.
For details about this and other events across the year visit www.wwf.org.uk/visitus
What do you think of the Living Planet Centre a year on? Leave us your comments.