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Education Director Simon Breen Awarded Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2021 Educator of the Year.

The Escondido Creek Conservancy Education Director, Simon Breen, awarded Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2021 Educator of the Year.


Escondido, CA—01/16/2021

The Escondido Creek Conservancy’s Education Director, Simon Breen, was awarded Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 2021 Educator of the Year. “I’m so honored to receive the Olivenhain Municipal Water District award for Educator of the Year,” said Breen. OMWD’s award program recognizes individuals and businesses making a significant, positive impact in our communities, the San Diego region, or the water industry. Simon was recognized for service to Escondido students and Elfin Forest visitors, and for leadership in forging a strong, cooperative, and respectful relationship between the two organizations.

“I wholeheartedly believe that all the problems in the world can be solved through education, and with the serious environmental threats we’re facing, environmental education is essential,” said Breen. “Not to mention, there’s a large body of research demonstrating a wide variety of benefits people receive from outdoor learning—from physical, emotional, and mental health benefits, and even improved academic performance. It’s so rewarding to connect people to nature and help them access those benefits, knowing that fostering an appreciation for nature will pay dividends for our planet for generations to come.” 

Last school year, the Conservancy’s education team adapted to the pandemic by creating virtual programming. This school year, they have resumed in-person field trips to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. “I’m very proud of the incredible team we have and the number of people—not just children but adults as well—we’ve been able to provide with outdoor opportunities over the years,” Breen continued. “When I first started, we were serving a few hundred students annually, but now it’s in the thousands, including every single third grader from all 18 elementary schools in the Escondido Union School District. Many of the kids we bring on field trips have never been to a nature preserve before. We’re also teaching kids to be curious and think like scientists. The more people understand the value of nature and the issues that confront it, the easier it’ll be to protect the habitats locally and everywhere.”

Simon Breen has been on staff at The Escondido Creek Conservancy for seven and a half years. He attained his undergraduate degree in anthropology from San Diego State University and has a master’s degree from Cornell University in nature resource management.

The Escondido Creek Conservancy currently has a Seed the Future fundraising campaign to sustain their education work. A recent Parker Foundation Grant (ended January 15th) matched $2-to-$1 for any new donors up to $25,000 and $1-to-$1 for existing donors up to $50,000. The Conservancy was able to meet both goals and exceed the New Donor challenge!

Support the Conservancy’s Education Fund.