by Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern
The Environmental Nature Center’s beloved stream and pond are getting a makeover. Environmental Nature Center (ENC) staff and volunteers began the project by bringing out shovels and gloves and getting their hands dirty as they pitched in to help restore the Center’s 300-foot recycling stream.
The winding body of water, which has not been fully restored since it was created in 1972, was beginning to show signs of deterioration, including cracks and a diminishing riverbank. Restoring the stream involves draining the system, cleaning out years of accumulated muck, resurfacing the entire streambed and pond, and then repositioning its rocks to make sure the waterfall tumbles the way we all remember.
“We are so grateful to Alan Smith Pools for their expertise and generous charitable contribution of half the cost to restore one of the Center’s most cherished assets,” said ENC Executive Director Bo Glover. “Their team did an excellent job resurfacing the stream and pond, and their crewman Victor was a wiz at mortaring in new stone to blend with the existing surface rocks.”
The ENC recently accepted a $50,000 donation from Frank Randall, Trustee of the Youth Development Foundation. The donation will fund the rest of the restoration costs of the Center’s stream and pond, as well as the development of a new Butterfly Habitat Observation Deck, a desert tortoise enclosure and the restoration of two teaching stations within the Center.
Lori Whalen, ENC Communications Director, says that although the recent rainfall caused a minor setback, the stream restoration project, which they have been working on for about a month, is soon to be completed.
The stream is one of the Center’s most attractive and popular features. Visiting students put the stream to good use, learning to test the waters nitrogen levels, pH, temperature, clarity and salinity. The ENC’s wildlife, which includes a wide variety of insects, birds, squirrels, and raccoons use the stream as a water source.
“Many of the staff are familiar with a particular hummingbird,” says Whalen with a laugh. “He shows up like clockwork to bathe at the top of the waterfall each morning during our programs. The kids really get a kick out of watching him!”