Following a deep freeze and a deep clean, the Dungeness River Audubon Center is set — tentatively — to reopen on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Powell Jones, the center’s executive director, said staff and volunteers removed 700-plus taxidermied animals from the center and freezing them to kill off a potential drugstore beetle infestation.
“Now we’re putting the center back together,” Jones said Tuesday morning.
The center closed Jan. 24, as all the animals and items in the center were wrapped in plastic and/or placed in tubsbefore being frozen in a truck for 48 hours over two separate cycles.
Sequim residents and center volunteers Darcy McNamara and Terri Tyler discovered one of the beetles while drawing in the center, eventually leading staffers to contact the Burke Museum in Seattle. Their staff told Jones the beetles could ruin the center’s collection and could be pesticide-resistant.
Jones said they only found two beetles through the whole experience and if there were more they’d be dead from the freezing process.
“It’s been a learning experience,” Jones said. “I’m glad we went through the steps we went through. It’s a growing opportunity for the center. Overall, we got off pretty light.”
Birds discovered with the beetles were sent initially to the Olympic Game Farm’s freezer before center staff brought in a freezer truck.
Jones said the center plans to purchase its own large freezer in the coming weeks to treat future taxidermy donations and to schedule more frequent cleanings of mounts.
With moving back in on Feb. 5, Jones said he and education coordinator Jenna Ziogas plan to rearrange some items to ease crowding and highlight specific birds in the center, and to keep others for teaching opportunities in schools and at Railroad Bridge Park.
Jones said staff will continue to put items back into place in coming weeks.
Those with wildlife identification questions, general inquiries and/or to make a donation, contact the center at 360-681-4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Dungeness River Audubon Center, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road, visit dungenessrivercenter.org.