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Excited for my first Winter Camp!

As an excited, newly hired Naturalist at the ENC, this will be my first winter camp. I am currently working hard to create my own fun and educational program that will be a part of this already amazing winter camp. I can tell already that all of the ENC’s Naturalists are animated, intelligent, and caring people, so as one of the newest Naturalists, I have big shoes to fill! Still, I am very excited for my first winter camp. Throughout my training so far, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about many of the school programs the ENC offers. School programs cover California Standards and are paralleled to what students are learning in class. For students to come to the ENC is a great chance…

ENC’s Sama Wareh Teaches Teachers to Teach Art

The ENC Excellent Educator series brings all kinds of educators together for fun afternoons of learning exciting hands-on ways to teach children about science and nature.  Everyone is invited!  Classroom teachers, outdoor educators, scout leaders and parents – anyone who wants to be a better educator. Each workshop is $5, and free for members. Our first workshop of the school year is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18th. Join us for Teaching Art to Kids. Join ENC Outreach Coordinator and Artist Sama Wareh and learn how to use art as a tool for learning. Educators of all grade levels will learn the tricks behind the trade of teaching Art and how to use art to turn any subject into a masterpiece. “Using the right side of the…

High School Students Explore Green Careers at the ENC

Vital Link teams up with green industry professionals at the ENC to inspire students in the first LEED Platinum building in OC. The Environmental Nature Center’s state-of-the-art Platinum LEED learning facility will host Exploring Green Careers, presented by Vital Link and the Fullerton Union High School District G-Cademy, on October 14, from 9AM to 1:30PM. Students will have the opportunity to interact with professionals that work in green industries. The Environmental Nature Center building was certified Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008.  The award is the highest designation available to buildings that demonstrate energy efficiency and sustainability. Designers from LPA, the architecture firm that designed the ENC’s LEED building, will be on hand to give tours…

Why the ENC does not condone the use of shells in arts, crafts, jewelry, etc.

Every year, millions of seahorses, sea stars, shellfish, corals, and other marine animals are collected alive and dried as souvenirs. Taking shells from the beach also disrupts the aquatic ecosystem. Left in place these “shells” provide homes for some animals like hermit crabs, shelter for small fish, and are used in the nests of some shorebirds. They are eventually ground up by the surf to become the beautiful sand we play on at the beach. Since the number of people visiting the beach is increasing, if these organisms are not left alone, the number of shells on the beach will decrease, negatively affecting the health of the ecosystem. A study was done on the environmental impacts of decreased numbers of shells on beaches, which included…

Summer is coming… Summer Nature Camp, that is!

On June 30, the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) will begin its 37th year of Summer Nature Camp for children entering Kindergarten through 8th grade! This year’s Summer Nature Camp is divided into eight week-long sessions. Weekly themes include Nature Play, Time Travelers, Time Travelers, Outdoor Creativity, Science Safari, Mad Science, Earth Heroes, Outdoor Adventure, and Under the Sea. Campers will spend most of their time outdoors observing nature using binoculars, magnifying lenses and other scientific tools. Campers will be divided by age into groups of up to 10 students per teacher. Camp teachers are exceptionally qualified individuals that teach in the science and environmental education field year round. Nature Camp is held Monday – Thursday, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM ($175 per student per session,…

The Benefits of Nature Preschool Education

Debating whether your child will benefit from preschool? A new report confirms that early education is crucial to child development and influences children well into adulthood. Those who received early education are healthier adults in their 30s and 40s, with lower blood pressure and lower levels of obesity, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Programs with a nature component – like the ENC’s Nature Preschool – further influence a healthier lifestyle.  The ENC’s Nature Preschoolers will enthusiastically eat fruit and veggies they grew themselves in our organic garden! The ENC’s Nature Preschool – Orange County’s first nature-based preschool – will take preschool education to a new level. The ENC recognizes that young children today are not spending enough time outside, with an alarming 89% of preschoolers…

ENC Sponsors Next Generation of Aerospace Leaders

Up, up, and away! The ENC sponsored a team to compete in the world’s largest rocket contest, the annual Team America Rocketry Challenge, alongside more than 700 teams and 7,000 students in 48 states. Over the last 8 months, the ENC team – consisting of four students in grades 7 to 12 – has been busy designing, building, and testing a rocket in three local qualification flights. The top 100 teams with the lowest scores will be invited to compete in the fly-off finals outside Washington, D.C. on May 10, where they will compete for $60,000 in cash and scholarships. To see more pictures, click HERE. The 2014 TARC competition marks the 12th year of inspiring the next generation of engineers to study math and…

Ahhhhhhhooooooooooo

Why do wolves howl? Howling is one of the many ways that wolves communicate.  Wolves howl to declare their territory, reunite pack members and as mourning call out to deceased individuals. My name is Skie Bender; I work at Wolf Haven International, a nonprofit sanctuary for captive-born wolves located in the small farming community of Tenino, Washington (about 1.5 hours south of Seattle.) For 30 years, Wolf Haven has rescued and provided lifetime sanctuary to over 170 animals.  We are participants in two Species Survival Plan (SSP) programs for endangered species: 1) Mexican grey and 2) red wolf. These are partnerships between captive facilities, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help put these highly endangered animals back…

Walk with a Fun Guy and look for some Fungi

Local wildlife biologist Greg Miller has been leading mushroom walks at the Environmental Nature Center since 2004.  He only does it once a year, and THIS SATURDAY (January 18 at 1PM) is your only chance to take a Mushroom Walk with Gregg at the ENC in 2014! Mushrooms usually grow when the weather is wet, but for some reason – despite the dry weather we’re having this Winter – the ENC still has a variety of mushrooms popping up throughout the Center.   Gregg once worked picking wild mushrooms and selling them to stores and restaurants.   “With mushrooms it’s like a grown-up Easter egg hunt, because you do not know what you’re going to find,” said Gregg. Click HERE to sign up for Gregg’s Mushroom Walk…

My Scary Halloween Costume

Happy Halloween! Today I am dressed in the scariest costume I could think of – an invasive non-native plant! I am a Tamarisk tree, but there are approximately 1,800 non-native plants that grow in the wild in the state.  Tamarisk is especially bad because it drinks A LOT of water, and deposits salts on the surface of the soil.  Deposits of salt-encrusted Tamarisk needles keep other plants from growing. Tamarisk (or Saltcedar) has been blamed for increasing flooding and fire frequency! Non-native plants reduce biodiversity, and reduce habitat available to native animals like birds and butterflies.  They alter natural landscapes, and increase the frequency and intensity of fires.  Non-native plants also contribute to species endangerment. 42% of the nation’s endangered and threatened species have declined as a…

ENC Provides Professional Development for Local Educators

The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) invites all educators to the Excellent Educator Series, a monthly event at which educators learn new hands-on ways to educate children about science and nature. The Excellent Educator Series consists of three workshops.  Attendees will learn exciting ways to broaden their teaching abilities.  Each workshop is $10. After finishing the Excellent Educator Series, the attendee will receive a certificate and ENC t-shirt.   More information at encenter.org. The Project WILD Aquatic workshop is Saturday October 26, from 10 am-3: 30 pm. It will focus on wildlife conservation and the responsibilities humans have for caring for the environment. Sama Wareh, the ENC’s Community Outreach Coordinator, will host the seminar and all attendees will receive a Project WILD Aquatic K-12 Curriculum and an…

Spend some time in Nature this School Year!

Now is a great time to schedule a 2013-2014 field trip or Traveling Naturalist program; our prices will go up ever so slightly in the Fall, but if you schedule your program to occur in September or October 2013 we will give you our 2012-2013 prices. Bring your students to the ENC to visit the butterfly house (seasonal).  Or travel back in time to learn about California history in our 3rd grade Tongva Trail or our 4th grade Native American Adventure program.  Or tour the ENC’s green building and learn about energy conservation. For more details on field trip programs at the ENC visit our website. Traveling Naturalist programs bring our educators to YOUR classroom (they travel in our Electric Vehicle, powered for free by…

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