Environmental Nature Center Re-Opens Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon

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ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary nature museum and gift shop

The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach expanded its footprint when it acquired the 12-acre Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon in 2021. ENC made upgrades to the facility, including installing ADA compliant restrooms and restoring the historic Tucker Residence.

Last year they hired staff, ran Summer Nature Camps over the summer, developed curricula for school and scout programs, and started running field trips for school groups and scout troops.

Habitat restoration started with removal of numerous non-native plants. Some locally native, wildlife friendly plants have been planted and many more will join them this fall.

Now, the ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. ENC members can visit in the afternoon on weekdays. The property includes a natural history museum, trails, and bird observation deck.

The Sanctuary is located at 29322 Modjeska Canyon Road in Modjeska Canyon.

According to information from ENC, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary began in 1929 when Benjamin and Dorothy Tucker welcomed visitors to their bird observation deck in the Santa Ana Mountains. This site was dedicated as a wildlife sanctuary by the Tucker Family in 1939 and deeded to California Audubon as a memorial for Dorothy.

Hiking trails at ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

From 1968 to 2021 the property was managed by California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). In 2021, CSUF sold the property to the Environmental Nature Center after a selection process led by the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society (formerly California Audubon).

“We are committed to Benjamin and Dorothy Tucker’s legacy. The Tuckers wanted their property to be conserved as a wild bird sanctuary, refuge and preserve, and that is how we will manage it.,” said Bo Glover, Executive Director of the Environmental Nature Center.

More info is at www.encenter.org/tucker.

Founded in 1972, the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) is a world class facility that provides transformative experiences resulting in a deeper connection to nature. The ENC’s mission is to provide quality education through hands-on experience with nature. The vision is to provide equitable access and inspire all to protect the natural world by serving as a community leader in ecological responsibility, sustainable practices and environmental education.

The ENC connects over 50,000 community members to nature annually through school field trips, Traveling Naturalist programs, community programs, nature camps, service learning programs, and professional development programs.

The ENC’s 5-acre Newport Beach campus features 15 California native plant communities, wildlife habitat, walking trails, and sustainably designed construction. The ENC’s LEED Platinum certified facilities are nationally recognized and provide an essential connection between nature and the built environment. The ENC Nature Preschool is our community’s first nature-based preschool and serves as a model nature preschool providing a research forum on nature-based early childhood education.

For more information call (949) 645-8489, or visit www.ENCenter.org.

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