The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) Nature Preschool Campaign has received a $1 million donation from a local philanthropist, and the anonymous donor has pledged another $3 million in matching challenge funds.
Any donations the Center receives toward the Preschool Campaign will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $3 million.
“This generous donation has helped us reach 60 percent of our $10 million goal.” said ENC Executive Director Bo Glover. “We are so close to making our Nature Preschool a reality, and I know that our community will step up to the challenge.”
The funding boost will make it possible for the Center to hire a Nature Preschool Director, as well as a Director of Philanthropy. The Preschool Director will focus on the implementation of a strategic plan for growth of the Preschool, while the Philanthropy Director helps acquire financial support for the Preschool and for the ENC’s other mission related programs that provide quality education through hands-on experience with nature.
Once the match is reached, the ENC will begin building the community’s first nature preschool and nature play area on the adjoining 1.3 acre property at 745 Dover Drive. The ENC Nature Pre-school will offer children a high quality learning environment that meets their developmental needs while initiating them into a life-long relationship with the natural world. The school will engage parents in active learning, serve as a model nature pre-school, and contribute financially to the ENC.
“It is becoming evident that outdoor preschools are more effective in terms of learning and being healthier,” said ENC Education Director Lori Whalen. “Our Nature Preschool will provide quality learning and nature exploration opportunities for the young children of Orange County, and help them develop into environmentally literate adults.”
The ENC’s Nature Pre-school will have play areas but no playgrounds. Students will spend the majority of the day outdoors, where they will have ample time for nature experiences. Qualified early childhood educators and environmental educators will teach them the basics of a typical preschool and more. Indoor spaces will be warm, welcoming and conducive to learning. All construction on the new Nature Preschool will meet or exceed the sustainable building guidelines incorporated into the ENC’s existing LEED Platinum certified facility. It is the ENC’s goal to achieve certification through the Living Building Challenge.
For more information or to donate to the ENC’s Capital Campaign, visit encenter.org/capital-campaign or contact ENC Executive Director Bo Glover at 949-645-8489 or [email protected].
Founded in 1972, the ENC is a fascinating combination of 15 California native plant communities, wildlife habitat, walking trails, and sustainably designed, LEED Platinum certified learning center. For over 40 years, the ENC has been shaped and caressed into a 5 acre landscape for learning, a sanctuary from life’s pressures and a place of preservation and instruction. Serving over 21,000 students and thousands of visitors annually, the ENC is recognized as a leader in science and social science education providing opportunities for increasing our community’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the natural world.
For more information visit ENCenter.org. The ENC is located at 1601 16th Street in Newport Beach.