San Diego County, California

Interpretive Center

IMG_20140712_134329130_HDRThe Elfin Forest Interpretive Center honoring Susan J. Varty is a unique partnership of The Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC) and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD).

The Interpretive Center is located at 8833 Harmony Grove, Escondido CA 92029. For directions, click here. It is open subject to docent availability. Please see this calendar for open days and hours. 

Our Mission

The Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve gives a voice to the Escondido Creek watershed, inspiring visitors to feel connected to nature, value open space and the creek, and join in conserving this precious North County resource through personal and community stewardship.


We appreciate your interest in The Escondido Creek Conservancy, Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, and the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. We encourage you to become a participant in the many activities that the Interpretive Center, the Reserve, and the Conservancy offer.

Completed in June of 2009, the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center was designed by renowned local artist James Hubbell and architect Drew Hubbell. The Center contains many permanent artistic components, including several original works by James Hubbell, along with his collaborations with other artists. The building also features green design elements such as the use of recycled building materials, solar panels powered by photovoltaic cells, and a green “living” roof.

The Center is one of the treasures of the 784-acre Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. The Reserve and Center are maintained and managed by the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. The District got the ball rolling with a $68,500 grant to start the project, and The Escondido Creek Conservancy raised over $565,000 from individual donors to complete its design and construction. An additional $200,000 has been raised by the Conservancy to enhance the Center and support its educational programs.

Susan_Varty_OMWD_Board_PresidentSusan J. Varty

Susan J. Varty was a board director for OMWD from 1994 until her passing in 2009. Ms. Varty exhibited a passion and tenacity for water issues while balancing environmental conservancy and fiscal conservatism.  Instrumental in obtaining several grants to support the Reserve, she was also diligent in developing and maintaining an excellent working relationship with Reserve partner, TECC. On July 22, 2009, OMWD’s board expressed its appreciation for her many years of dedicated leadership, tireless effort, and commitment to serve OMWD customers and Reserve visitors with the naming of the “Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty.”


beth jamesbwJames Hubbell

James Hubbell is a San Diego County-based artist known for his spectacularly unique art and architecture inspired by nature.  He is a firm believer in site-specific, sustainable designs that stand in harmony with the surrounding environment.  The Elfin Forest Interpretive Center is one such remarkable design.