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More than just a Pretty Flower


You probably haven’t put much thought into your lawn beyond making sure it looks groomed and presentable. You also may not have considered the impact your ornamental lawn has on the surrounding ecosystem. As it turns out, your lawn can have quite an effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Native plants have been growing on the land where our homes are now for centuries, forming interconnected webs with all of the wildlife in the area. By removing native plants from landscapes, the insects that rely on those plants will also be removed, followed by the species that relied on the insects, and so on. As a result, the ecosystem quickly loses its carefully mastered system of checks and balances. It is a chain reaction that reaches all the way to…

Help us celebrate! We’ve turned 45.

Working at the ENC_Robert House_1070s

In 1972, the Environmental Nature Center was nothing more than a lot full of weeds, mounds of dirt and gnarly, untended vegetation. 45 years later, our center boasts a beautiful running stream, a plethora of different plant and animal species and a hardworking team of talented naturalists and teachers who run fantastic programs for all our little learners and their families. We have become Newport Beach’s go-to authority on ecological responsibility, sustainability, and environmental education. It’s been a long journey but a good one. Since our inception, we have always counted on people who have seen the potential in a neglected lot, people who share our values of education, science, and interacting with nature, people who have passionately fought to make this place what it…

Robert Shelton to be Remembered at the ENC

Scan 29 - Version 4

A memory walk and casual, social gathering to celebrate the life of Robert Shelton will be held on Saturday, January 28th from 12:30 to 2:30PM at the Environmental Nature Center (ENC), 1601 E. 16th Street, Newport Beach. A 59 year resident of Corona del Mar, Robert passed away in November at the age of 93. Barbara Shelton, wife of Robert, and his three children, Peter, Wendy and Tom Shelton invite all interested friends and colleagues to attend. Refreshments will be served. (Rain or shine; flat shoes recommended). Please RSVP to RobertSheltonMemorial@gmail.com. Photos and comments for the memory walk are also welcome and can be emailed to the same address. Following the resignation of John J. Sailors, the first City Manager of Newport Beach, a young,…

Green Your Gifts


by Chelsea Moreno, CSUF Communications Student The holidays are nearing meaning food, family, and gifts galore, but as friends and family gather, so does waste. According to the EPA, the holidays create 1 million extra tons of waste in the United States, a whopping 25 percent increase in just two short months. It’s never been more important or easy to reduce waste and have yourself a green, little Christmas. One way to start making your holiday’s eco-friendly is to reuse gift wrap. Whether it be old bags, boxes, paper or ribbons from Christmases past, reusing them saves them from the landfill and saves you money. Try using twine (it’s recyclable and compostable!), paper ribbon, and fresh foliage from your yard to spruce up your gifts…

A #GivingTuesday message from our Executive Director


The holidays are a time for showing gratitude and giving back. Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Please join the movement and give – whether it’s your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in the community – to support the causes you care about. The Environmental Nature Center staff works hard every day to connect children and adults to the natural world, and to teach the responsibilities that come with that. Building a future generation of conservationists depends on helping children fall in love and connect with the natural world. We hope you will support the Environmental Nature Center in our mission to provide quality education through hands-on experience with Nature. Here are some…

Socially Responsible Investing

solar panels

Are you concerned about the earth and people who live on it? Socially responsible investing, also known as ethical, sustainable, or green investing, is a type of investing that focuses on ideas such as environmental sustainability and alternative energy. Not only does socially responsible investing have the potential to result in a return on your investment, you also make a positive impact on our environment. Alternative energy is one of the most important types of socially responsible investments because it provides many benefits to both us and to the environment. Non-renewable energy sources have harmful effects on our health, and byproducts from the processes in which they are procured, refined and utilized can have devastating impacts on the environment. Fossil fuels, such as oil and…

Local Student’s Naturalist Career Shadow Project a Success!

Sara Wong_Science Fair

Interested in learning what it’s like to be a Naturalist at the ENC? Sara Wong loved her career shadow experience with the ENC, where she worked with our Naturalists after school for her middle school’s Science Fair. Sara’s project, entitled “The Environment Is Where We All Meet”, documented her experience, as she learned about the importance of sustainability, reusing, recycling, and taking care of our environment. “The most rewarding part of being at the ENC was being able to learn new things that I didn’t know before, like facts about water and seeing new plants that I never knew about,” she remembers. She also loved being around lots of kids and taking gorgeous pictures of the ENC’s beautiful and peaceful plant communities and wildlife habitats….

My Two Cents

ENC Naturalist Valerie Bain complimenting a camper's art.

Someone recently asked me what was the one, best piece of advice I ever got and why?  My response was, “Why do I have to pick just one?”  TWO amazing pieces of advice come to mind. Do what you can with what you have where you are.   Apparently this is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, but this ADVICE came to me via a college professor, Bill Tidwell.  The class was on ecological restoration and the tone was pragmatic.  What it comes down to is, you’ll never be in a perfect situation.  There will always be problems, so make the most of it.  I use this advice nearly every day as an employee at a non-profit where there aren’t always funds to buy what we’d really…

It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it


“It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it” is the motto for Vanis Buckholz’s “My Recycler” business.  The slogan is a perfect way to summarize his mission. You might have seen Vanis in the past at the Environmental Nature Center, because his goal is to increase participation in recycling. My ReCycler started at the Buckholz’s house, but it has grown into so much more. When Vanis was 7 years old, after he learned about Earth Day in school, he immediately began his quest to recycle and pick up trash. Since it’s beginning 3 years ago, My ReCycler has gained momentum as Vanis and other kids continue to pick up trash in their community.  He has influenced many of his neighbors and community members….

Bo’s Travels in China


In Taoism the object of spiritual practice is to become one with the Tao — to harmonize one’s will with nature in order to achieve ‘effortless action’. When I stepped off the plane in Beijing, I had no clue what the Tao was, nor was I too keen on being a follower. I left for China with an itinerary provided by Earth Charter Communities Network but I hadn’t really looked at it too closely. I knew I was to speak at a couple of universities in Beijing, I knew I had a bicycle date with a teacher named Mrs. Dong, and I knew The Nature Conservancy wanted to learn from my experience in, of all places, a Giant Panda preserve.  I knew I had important…

All Good Things Come to an End


For the past three months, I have had the privilege of serving as an Intern at the ENC. Sadly, today is my final day. In honor of my time here, I am using my final blog post to reflect on a few of the great memories I’ve made at the ENC. I genuinely enjoyed dedicating my time to the ENC because of the wonderful people that work here. The staff have a diverse array of personalities and you can tell that they truly enjoy their work. I am grateful that my first experience in an office atmosphere was in a very positive one. I learned a great deal from my time spent at the ENC.  I gained experience writing blog articles and press releases, along…

Shop at Whole Foods on 10-17, ENC Receives 5%!


Whole Foods Market just opened a new store in Newport Beach!  To celebrate they are holding a Community Giving Day on October 17th.  Whole Foods Markets hold Community Giving Days to help support and better communities they are involved in throughout the nation. They will be donating 5% of that day’s net sales to the Environmental Nature Center (ENC). This will go a long way in helping us provide fun and educational programs for adults and children. Since opening a store in Tustin in 2007, Whole Foods Market has single-handedly donated an astounding $50,000 to Orange County-based community groups! Whole Foods has also gone on record to say they, “… enthusiastically support the valuable work the ENC is doing to promote the importance of nature…

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