Roadside Signage - In Spring 2011 the Friends got grants from Texas Historical Commission and the National Park Foundation for a roadside signage project. These new signs will give visitors more information on the types of exhibits available, rather than the older roadrunner signs that only point out the exhibits are there, with no additional information. Fossil Discovery Trail - In June 2010 the Board of Directors approved park staff to pursue plans for enhancements of the current paleontology exhibit with an initial committment to raise $350,000 for Phase One of this project. The Friends have already put $95,000 toward this project for planning, visitor amenities and initial signage. The new campaign of $350,000 will cover the costs of building a covered exhibit space for a future major exhibit installation of fossil replicas and interpretive panels. Want to learn more? Click here to get all the dino scoop! Rio Grande Village Restoration - Friends of Big Bend National Park is pleased to announce a grant of $40,000 from the Meadows Foundation in September 2011 for habitat restoration efforts at the Rio Grande Valley wetlands area. This project aims to restore the area to its natural habitat, providing migrating birds with a welcoming environment and a buffer zone for the nearby federally endangered mosquitofish. This brings the total of dollars give to the park for this effort to over $100,000 from grants and license plate monies. We look forward to seeing the land revived! Auditorium and Visitor Orientation Film - In June 2010 the Friends of Big Bend National Park were awarded a Partnership Grant from the National Park Service, this grant matched the $100,000 raised to that point for the Orientation film campaign. With this match, our final total raised for the film will be $205,000. Park staff is currently at work on the script, and the anticipated debut of this film is late 2011 or early 2012. Many thanks to the donors who made this film possible including the Board of Directors of the Friends of Big Bend, Amon Carter Foundation, the Brown Foundation and Permian Basin Area Foundation. At the February 2008 meeting, the FBBNP Board of Directors approved a gift of $35,000 to the park to secure architectural drawings for a proposed 50-seat auditorium and visitor orientation film. The plans have been drawn, and the project is now ready to be bid. The park is currently pursuing an opportunity to use fee demonstration dollars to fund the auditorium and to begin building it as soon as possible. FY2010 Projects - At the September 2009 meeting, the FBBNP Board of Directors approved an additional $30,000 in funding for two projects requested by the park. At the June 2009 meeting, the FBBNP Board of Directors approved $30,000 in funding for four projects requested by the park. This brings us to over $940,000 in gifts to the park over the twelve year history of FBBNP! Click here for details on these projects. FY2009 Projects - At the June 2008 meeting, the FBBNP Board of Directors approved $30,500 in funding for four projects requested by the park. Click here for details. This makes over $730,000 in gifts to the park over ten years from FBBNP! At the February 2009 Board of Directors meeting, the board awarded $30,000 to the park for two projects. The first project, funded at $10,000, will launch the park into the digital media age. The project provides funding for a computer and software dedicated to producing and editing podcast and other multimedia video materials. This lays the foundation for future Big Bend National Park podcasts - watch our website for launch dates! The second project, funded at $20,000, will rehabilitate and improve the Fossil Bone exhibit kiosk. The project also includes a design review of the site, with suggestions for a future, expanded exhibit on the park's paleontological wonders. Click here for more details! Panther Junction Visitor Center — Construction is over and the park celebrated the re-opening of the visitor center with a ribbon cutting and party on May 1. Friends of Big Bend raised over $250,000 for the new educational exhibits that grace the walls of the Visitor Center. Want to know what it looks like? Click here for photos of the dedication. FBBNP thanks the many supporters who made this project possible. Click here to see the list of donors to this project.