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10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Student and Teacher Testimonial

Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty

In 2009, Olivenhain Municipal Water District secured a $68,500 grant from California’s Department of Parks and Recreation to build a station at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve where rangers could store tools and provide guests with general park information. When board members of The Escondido Creek Conservancy heard about the plan, they had a big ideawhich isn’t unusual for this crew. What if this building was a place where families could visit and be inspired by nature?! The Conservancy then raised over $565,000 from individual donors to complete the enhanced design and center construction. Another $200,000 was raised for educational programs, including wildlife displays and nature activities for what is now the beautiful Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty (IC). The center was designed by local artist James T. Hubbell and feature original pieces by Hubbell and other local artists. The building was created with green design in mind and include solar powered energy, recycled building materials, and a green roof.

High Tech High student presents $500 donation to the Eichen Education Fund

Ten years later, the IC has become an outdoor education hub for local schools including High Tech High, homeschool groups, local colleges, universities, and the entire Escondido Union School District. In the 2018-19 school year alone, we served 40 schools at the IC with a total of 3,683 students. Combined with other education programs throughout the Escondido Creek watershed that number jumps to 4,943 students served.

Michael Taylor, spouse of Board Member Vicky Taylor, and Mayor Paul McNamara.

Volunteers, donors, residents, and even the Mayor of Escondido, Paul McNamara, came to celebrate the success of the IC’s education programs and the unique partnership between an environmental nonprofit and government agency—The Conservancy and OMWD. Guests enjoyed food and live music as they toured the IC and went on guided nature walks. As we reflect on the increasing impact our education programs are having on local youth and their perceptions of the outdoors, we’ve begun the Eichen Education Fund to ensure their continued success. Our first donation of $500 was raised by High Tech Elementary – North County students and presented at the event. We are so grateful for the community support we’ve received over the years and hope that you will support us for the decade to come.

How you can help!

Link to Eichen Edu Fund

Please consider a donation to the new Eichen Education Fund so we can continue supporting the bus rides, staff time, and materials to keep our education programs running!

Click Here To Donate

If you’re interested in volunteering for our field trips please email our Education Manager, Simon Breen, [email protected].