and Nature Center
Situated on five acres, dedicated to 15 California plant communities, the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) and Preschool in Newport Beach, CA, was designed by Landscape Architects with LPA of Irvine, CA to teach visitors about native plants and their importance to biodiversity, as well as rainwater collection and reuse. As you enter the campus, you are immediately greeted by elements of the regional landscape including a stream, and a nature walk for visitors to explore. Every component of the outdoors was designed to put nature at the forefront of the learning experience.
Planting throughout the site is comprised solely of California native plants and provides habitat and food sources that attract wildlife. Traditional irrigation systems were eliminated and replaced with volunteer hand-watering to support the plantings. Once the plantings are established, watering is provided only through rainwater or coastal marine layer precipitation. These native plants add seasonal color and texture and provide habitats for native birds and insects. Over the last 10 years, the ENC has been home to more than 140 species of permanent and migratory birds which are supported by the preschool.
Rainwater received on-site is treated as an educational tool and illustrates how this resource makes its way from the building site to the ocean. Single-sloped roofs capture rainwater and channel it via rain chains into rock basins. From the rock basins, water is channeled into bioswales where the water is naturally treated and clarified by plant materials before it leaves the site to recharge aquifers and ultimately make its way to Newport Bay. These sustainable strategies are shared with visitors through interpretive signage throughout the campus.
As seen in LASN magazine, June 2021.