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Dark, Wet & Cold? Go Outside!

Teachers Night OUt campfire

It is being revealed that children these days are spending little to no time outside. In fact, “Children spend less time outside each day than prison inmates do in the United States. Inmates are guaranteed two hours of outdoor time daily, whereas one in two children is outside for less than an hour. A recent survey of 12,000 parents in 10 countries, who have children aged five to 12, found that one-third of kids spend under 30 minutes outside each day” (www.treehugger.com). During the winter, this statistic gets even worse, and it does not need to. There are plenty of ways to get your class out of their desks and outside for some fun learning activities. Outdoor play is crucial for a child’s imagination and…

Learning about Light and Water


By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Whether you’re a teacher looking for a way to make the classroom more engaging or a parent wanting to show your children how they can help the environment, this toolkit is for you. The World Forum Foundation is focused on providing quality services, including education, for young children through the exploration and promotion of ideas from worldwide sources. Their online Connection Center allows participants to join in on discussions, hear about new projects, and access reading material and other resources. This toolkit, available in English, Spanish and Arabic, was put together with the help of educational and environmental groups across the globe. Here are just a few tips from the toolkit! For more…

Teacher’s Day Out features Project Learning Tree

Teachers day Out- Project Learning Tree

By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern It’s not only students who learn, but teachers as well. For our  Teacher’s Day Out event at the ENC on April 1 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, we’re bringing you the wisdom of Project Learning Tree, an organization which provides educational workshops for teachers, parents and students. Its goal, which the ENC shares, is to encourage students to reconnect with nature and learn through helping the environment. Laura Councilor, a field naturalist with over 15 years of experience working with K-12 youth, will introduce teachers to Greenworks! and demonstrate how to integrate Project learning Tree activities into their lesson plans, with a focus on grades K-5. Teachers will receive PLT’s PreK-8 Environmental Education Activity Guide, jampacked with 96…

The Way Things Were


By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern Before shopping malls and highways, there were the Tongva, a group of indigenous people who resided where we live today. Here at the ENC, we’ve made it one of our priorities to educate the community about the culture that thrived here long ago. For decades we’ve encouraged the community to experience Tongva history, culture and legends with our two special programs. Now it’s your turn. Come experience some of the life ways of the Tongva on February 25 with our “The Way Things Were” program. Naturalist Kathy Wiedel will teach families and their children (3rd grade or older) how to make string for weaving and “hunt” with a rabbit stick. Participants will also enjoy a Tongva legend and play authentic instruments along with traditional…

ENC partners with ReadAloud.org to encourage reading in children

reading in the redwoods small

By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern More than half the children in this country – 13 million children – will not hear a bedtime story tonight. This concerning fact comes courtesy of ReadAloud.org, a decade-long, non-profit public awareness movement with a goal to have every child read aloud to by a parent or loved one for 15 minutes every day starting at birth. Reading or being read to at an early age prevents lags in children’s educational progress. In pursuing its goal, ReadAloud depends on partners in cities across the nation to rally grassroots support through local awareness efforts and community outreach. Now, the Environmental Nature Center is joining its ranks. “The response we’ve had at the local level has been amazing,” says ReadAloud.org Executive…

Observe and Learn About Hummingbirds at the ENC’s Hummingbird Walks


How do you look for one of the smallest birds in the world? How do you catch up with a bird whose wings flap so quickly it creates a humming sound we can hear? Naturalist Leslie Helliwell knows how-and will teach a group of curious individuals on February 4 as they take to the trails of the ENC on a search for hummingbirds and their nests. Participants can watch as the tiny colorful birds zip through the air, diving, hovering, and even flying backwards and side to side! Helliwell will share fun facts, such as how hummingbirds feed and use their energy, how they mate through displays of color and how important they are to pollinating a variety of local plants. Participants in our hummingbird…

Heavy Rains! Collect it!

Rain Barrels

If you’ve noticed this season’s rainfall seems a bit heavy, you’re right. Meteorologists are saying this is Southern California’s worst storm in years, with us experiencing record-setting downpours and flooding. With these surprising storms and heavy rains, there is no better time to learn how to put that extra rainfall to good use. Cindy Berglund of Rain Barrels Intl. will join us to teach everyone the benefits of using a rain barrel. Cindy will show you how to install your rain barrel and share her other water conservation tips, so you can efficiently harvest your own rainwater and be water smart! Rain barrels must be purchased in advance by February 1st for $65.00 + tax for this event, but Cindy will show you how to…

ENC invites local educators to learn, implement hands-on science education with two workshops

Teachers Night Out

by Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern As ENC Naturalist Fiorella Gardella says, not all learning happens “behind a book.” At the ENC, most of it happens outdoors. On January 23, Citizen Science for Educators — Gardella’s brainchild and the ENC’s first-ever program of its kind–finally comes to fruition, bringing together teachers and soon-to-be teachers to learn about citizen science projects and inspire them to bring hands-on science learning back to their own classrooms. “To have kids learn that they can contribute to real life science-that is exciting to me,” says Gardella. Under her guidance, participants will record data as they familiarize themselves with spotting different varieties of butterflies, hummingbirds and even plants. Instructors can partner with middle and high school aged ENC volunteers to practice teaching their…

Wolves and Coyotes and Dogs, OH MY!


Skie Bender of Wolf Haven International will present “Wolves, Coyotes and Willdife!” on January 26, 2017 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The program takes a close look at the differences and similarities between wolf and coyote biology, behavior, social structure, historical and current ranges, and ecosystem roles. How do our domesticated dogs compare and contrast to these wild canids? The program focuses on resources that facilitate peaceful coexistence. Wolf Haven International, a nonprofit sanctuary for captive-born wolves, www.wolfhaven.org, is located in the small farming community of Tenino, WA (about 1.5 hours south of Seattle). $6 per participant (free for members). Pre-registration is required HERE.

Invasive Non-Native Plants to Avoid Planting in Your Yard

fountain grass

by Hilary Mills, ENC Lead Naturalist/Horticulture Manager It’s California Invasive Species Action Week! Here are some species to avoid when you’re considering a new plant for your yard: Brazilian pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius & Peruvian pepper, Schinus molle Brazilian pepper tree is slightly more invasive than Peruvian pepper, but it is not a good idea to plant either one. Seeds readily germinate and grow to create dense stands that shade out other vegetation within a few years of introduction, especially in riparian habitats. Seeds are spread by birds, coyotes, and other wild animals.   English Ivy and Algerian Ivy, Hedera helix or Hedera caneriensis These ivy species spread vigorously both as a vine and groundcover, choking out trees and completely covering understory vegetation. It can also harbor…

Farewell Aaysia!


Spring Semester is finally coming to an end and with less than two week till graduation I am sad to be ending my internship here at the Environmental Nature Center. Interning here has been nothing but an incredible learning experience and I am thankful for every day I got to spend here. Someone once said, “Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.” As I end my internship here at ENC I can honestly say that I am truly grateful I learned so much during the few months I’ve been here. I’ve learned the importance of organization, communication, and deadlines. Working with Lori Whalen was also a great…

Little Naturalists at the ENC!


The warmth of the sun shining on your skin, the dazzlingly bright orange glow of poppies in bloom, and the air tasting sweeter than usual. All in favor of spring say “Aye!” Its officially spring and the Environmental Nature Center couldn’t be more excited. The ENC has fun and exciting events in store for all our little naturalist friends and their guardians. Spring is the season for rebirth, renewal, and regrowth and the ENC is thrilled to host our Little Naturalist events: “Little Naturalists: Desert Adventure!” on April 12 at 9:30 and “Little Naturalists: Spectacular Spring!” on April 20 at 9:30. Little Naturalist programs are outdoor experiential education classes designed for 3 – 5 year olds and their adult guardians.  Activities are designed to encourage…

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