Built: 2008

Location: Genoa, Nevada

The Nature Conservancy’s River Fork Ranch Preserve


The mission of the River Fork Ranch Nature Preserve is to further The Nature Conservancy’s goal of protecting the Carson River and other priority Nevada landscapes by shaping the way people experience and think about land and water protection strategies in a traditional working landscape. Whit Hall Interpretive Center serves as the hub of the Nature Conservancy’s community outreach and education efforts along the Carson River.  Learning activities, along with special events, were part of the program of restoring a flood damaged former ranch house into the home of their new interpretive center.

The Center utilizes solar thermal heating in conjunction with geothermal heating and cooling which takes advantage of the moderating effect of the temperature below the earth’s surface.  Additionally, photovoltaic solar panels provide electricity.  The native cattail filled wetlands act as water purification for wastewater, and provide wetland habitat for native wildlife.  LED lighting, recycling of found materials, triple-glazed windows, and low-impact site design strategies also contributed to a LEED Platinum certification.

In 2014 our team returned to the site to join with Center for Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art for a project called The Nature of Art, to help rebuild the damaged West Fork of the Carson River.