San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center
The San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center serves as the visitor’s center for the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. This two-story center offers an outdoor observation deck on the second floor with views fo the San Elijo Lagoon. The museum inside features interactive exhibits covering the history and ecology of the lagoon. Visitors can meet animals up close and personal and access the Nature Center Loop Trail from here.
The Nature Center is also Platinum-certified Green and provides visitors with real life glimpses into how green technology works. Some of the technology that patrons will see include solar panels, irrigated roof plants, recycled water used in landscaping, and now the building itself is made from recycled materials.
The Nature Center is open daily from 9am-5pm. Guided Tours are offered on Saturdays from 10-11 am except for every second Saturday of the month. The Nature Center is always free admission and free parking with Family Fun Days being offering every First Sunday with themed explorations that the entire family can enjoy together. You can also rent the Nature Center for private events such as birthday parties, luncheons, meetings, or weddings.
San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is involved in several conservation efforts that can be observed at the San Elijo Ecological Reserve. The plant nursery, Sowing Native Seeds is a low impact nursery located near the Santa Inez trail head. Lagoon Platoon is team of volunteers working to revilatize the lagoon through hands on conservation efforts that are led by biologists. Volunteers are also always needed to verify bird counts on teams that meet monthly.
Staff at the conservancy also work with San Diego Parks and Recreation on restoring habitats, controlling invasive plants species, tidal circulation, land stewardship, water monitoring which happens weekly at 6 different sites at the Lagoon, and other ecological projects.
The Conservancy website provides multiple downloadable resources for teachers who plan on using the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve to teach environmental science. The conservation education program is aimed at providing students with a way to connect with nature and learn about the watershed and wetland environments. Resource are available for grades k-8 as well as a conservation project guide.
Volunteer Naturalists can be found at the Nature Center on the weekends offering tours and serving as nature guides through the reserve. These guides are valuable resources on the plants and animals that can be found in and around the Lagoon, the history of the conservancy and the importance of conservation. (website)
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