The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) will celebrate the addition of a new life-sized California Condor display during the Condors & Cocktails fundraiser on January 23, 2019 at 5:30PM. Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, wine donated by Esser Vineyards, and signature condor themed cocktails. Proceeds from the event, including a condor trivia contest and silent auction, will benefit the ENC Nature Preschool. The Environmental Nature Center is located at 1601 E. 16th Street, in Newport Beach. Tickets to the event can be purchased at encenter.org
Construction on the highly anticipated state-of-the-art ENC Nature Preschool has begun, with an estimated completion date of August 2019. The ENC Nature Preschool will be the community’s first nature preschool and nature play area. The preschool will be located on 1.3 acres bordering the Nature Center’s Redwood Forest, at 745 Dover Drive.
The California Condor replica, commissioned by ENC Founder Robert House, was recently installed in the Center’s foyer. It gazes down on visitors entering the Center’s Nature Museum. Also, recently installed is interpretive signage describing House’s first encounter with a California Condor, at eighteen working his fourth summer at Golden Trout Camp, a dude ranch south of Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada. A painting by local artist Monica Edwards illustrates the scene.
“The ENC Nature Preschool presents a terrific opportunity for the ENC to expand its role as an educator in the community,” said House. “The children who attend our preschool will make memories that will last a lifetime, as special as my memories of summers spent in the Sierra Nevada. The opportunities for hands-on learning and nature exploration will help them develop into environmentally literate adults and instill in them a lifelong environment ethic.”
Nature Preschools teach the building blocks of a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education by providing young children with the opportunity to become familiar with the natural world by playing – and learning – while surrounded by nature.
“Learning outside increases students’ ability to think creatively and improves problem-solving skills,” said ENC Preschool Director Sue Bierlich. “Research shows that students who participate in outdoor education demonstrate increased enthusiasm for learning, improved academic performance, better language skills, and a variety of substantially increased critical thinking skills.”
“Outdoor education promotes lifelong physical and emotional well-being,” said ENC Executive Director Bo Glover. “Numerous studies suggest that contact with nature is as important to children as good nutrition and adequate sleep: time spent outdoors correlates with increased physical activity and fitness in children. Exposure to green space increases general wellbeing and ability to focus.”
The ENC is aiming to achieve a Platinum Level LEED Rating on the new facility. The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. It is also the ENC’s goal to achieve certification through the Living Building Challenge.
The preschool was already awarded a citation from the American Institute of Architects Orange County Chapter (AIAOCC) in 2015. The ENC’s Nature Preschool was one of eight projects selected to receive an award out of the 56 projects that were entered into the design competition. It was the only project to receive an award that was not a completed project; meaning the jury saw great potential in the building. It was noted during the award ceremony “that the site design and building worked seamlessly and a great deal of thought was given to the creation of a learning environment where nature was the focus.”
“I truly believe that this Nature Preschool and Nature Play Area will be an integral addition to the community making an essential impact on the next generation.” said Rick John, long-time Newport Beach resident and ENC Board Member. “We are urgently seeking community members to join us in supporting the ENC Nature Preschool.”