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Kevin Barnard looks down at a trench dug for pipes inside a 2x4 framed office space.

Boulder Outlook Progress Report: Meet Kevin Barnard

In 2018, the Conservancy acquired Mountain Meadow Preserve in partnership with the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Navy as part of our Save 1000 Acres campaign. This preserve included an old avocado grove and came with two buildings on it; old buildings were uncharted ground for the Conservancy.

We decided that rather than demolish these rundown buildings we should repurpose them into eco-friendly and fire-resistant office, event, and outdoor education space for our staff, board, and community. 

Kevin Barnard is the long-time Escondido Creek Conservancy Board member who is spearheading the Boulder Outlook building project. Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, Kevin has continued to persevere, pushing the project forward. With the finish line almost in sight, we checked in with Kevin to learn more about the progress on Boulder Outlook and how he got involved with the Escondido Creek Conservancy.

How long have you been involved with the Conservancy, and what inspired you to get involved?

Kevin: I’ve been on the board since 2006. It was the threat of local development and its total destruction of our local habitats that inspired me to get involved. I was born and raised in North SD County, and I have witnessed the loss of so much in that time.

What is the current status of the Boulder Outlook Build-out, and what challenges have you faced getting the project done? The project is about 2/3 done, with major aspects of the project all coming together in the next few weeks. The pandemic caused delays, and price increases have been a big challenge along the way.

How will a finished HQ impact the Conservancy and enable your conservation efforts?

Kevin: Not only will the building serve as our offices and save us $30-40k in rent a year, but it now provides a place to hold events, educational, [and] fundraising at a very inspiring location with views of much of east county, Daley Ranch, Palomar Mtn, etc. It also is a great location to point out our efforts to connect habitats in the north county. From the Outlook, it’s easy to visualize our mission.

Now that things are moving along, what still needs to be done? And are there ways for supporters of the Conservancy to get involved or support?

Kevin: We tried to take on certain parts of this project to hold down costs as much as possible. So we’re doing DIY on our metal roof (I installed a metal roof on my own house 16 years ago, so I have the courage or insanity to do it for the Conservancy on this project), flooring, and likely several other aspects of the project that will result in about $60-75k in costs if we had hired contractors for these items.

There are many volunteer opportunities at the site. Most don’t take any specific skills, and I can guide any volunteers along the way. We’re about 1/3 complete on the metal roof, and the last part requires several people to help out because handling these long metal panels can be tricky. They’re not particularly heavy. They are somewhat delicate and need lots of hands in order to avoid bending or crimping the panels as they’re put in place.

I have it on good authority that you’re a pretty serious hockey player. How has hockey influenced your life, and who do you cheer for? (Full disclosure: I cheer for the UW Badgers and LA Kings) 

Kevin: Yeah…I got hooked on hockey in the late 1960s when the original Gulls came to San Diego. I’m 64 and still playing 3-5 times a week. I’ve been a goaltender all these years, and in the 1990’s I had the opportunity to back up for the Gulls when they played in the IHL and ECHL. Here’s an article that gives some perspective on what lengths we old guys will go to stay in the game. I’m a Kings fan, too, mostly because I really liked Daryl Sutter when he coached them to two Stanley Cups. And I never get tired of watching that freak Jonathon Quick in the net. Old-time hockey, I guess.

Our Executive Director, Ann Van Leer, informed me that you are also a talented artist. What is your medium, and where do you find inspiration? How will art be integrated into Boulder Outlook Finally,

Not sure how talented I am. I can sketch things at times, but it’s not something that I’ve really cultivated. As I get older, it’s something that I plan to do more of since, let’s face it, you can only have so many body parts replaced to keep playing things like hockey.

Boulder Outlook office space under construction

The frame for the solar panels was recently installed.

The Boulder Outlook project is on-going. Meghan Williams, the Conservancy’s Development Associate shares the best ways for nature lovers to support the Boulder Outlook project.

It’s an odd concept that working on a building supports nature, but in this case it does as our staff will be working there and we are always working on saving the land. Any donation of time, money, or special skills can help with invasive removal, native plant garden, irrigation/installation, and wildlife cameras that raise awareness can all help support the cause.

Donations to the Boulder Outlook effort can be made directly at the link below.


By the time you read this, the solar panels will be installed and siding on the exterior should be finished. We still need to raise $250K to meet our entire build interior/exterior projected costs.

Meghan has been providing progress update videos on the build at Boulder Outlook, the future home of the Conservancy. Follow the Conservancy on Instagram to see the video updates.

Kevin Barnard looks down over the edge of the roofline at a construction site giving direction to Leonard Wittwer who looks up at him from a ladder.
A side view down the length of an under construction pergola.
Kevin Barnard holds a baby trout before release with the Trout in the Classroom program
The pergola is under construction
Kevin and Leonard stand on the roof trying to make sense of the solar panel system