The Goodrich Foundation has honored the Chula Vista Nature Center a $20,000 grant to help with the building of an outdoor classroom as well as a Discovery Park at the preserve located close by the Goodrich Aerostructures campus. The preserve, the Chula Vista Nature Center, has been at South Bay for over 23 years and is visited by 65,000 guests per year, which includes close to 13,000 students from the greater San Diego area. The preserve offers 23 acres home to 200 native plant species and 150 native species.
Roger Ross, vice president, Regional and Engine Programs for Goodrich Aerostructures, a recent appointee to the board of directors for the Nature Center stated, “As a good neighbor of the Nature Center, we’re pleased to be part of this effort to strengthen the center’s ability to connect people of all ages — especially students — with nature. The new area will benefit thousands of people, from visiting students to campers in the Overnight Adventures program and fits perfectly with the company’s goal of furthering all types of science education.”
The classroom area and the new park will offer double the capacity for onsite day camp programs and field trips and will allow children a hands-on learning feature. The area will offer benches created from recycled plastic, picnic tables along the periphery, fencing, along with a shaded area for animals and a stage for educational presentations.
Julie Schardin, director of development for the Chula Vista Nature Center stated, “The outdoor classroom and Discovery Park project started as a seed of an idea that grew into a big picture plan for developing an unused space into a dynamic outdoor area to be used by thousands each year. We realized that we had a true opportunity to make something special in this natural area. One idea led to another until a comprehensive plan to transform an underutilized space into a multipurpose outdoor place that can be used by visiting students on field trips, campers, military groups, pre-schoolers, families and refuge visitors.”
The cots of the Discovery Park and outdoor classroom project are estimated at around $100,000. The Nature Center was at one time part of the City of Chula Vista, but due to City budget cuts, was put off into an independent nonprofit organization beginning in 2009. You can find more information on the Nature Center and its programs by visiting http://www.chulavistanaturecenter.org/.