The Ecology Center Hits The Road
32701 Alipaz St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 443 4223 | theEcologyCenter.org
ou know The Ecology Center, located in the 130-year-old Congdon House on Alipaz Street in San Juan Capistrano, as Orange County’s environmental steward for sustainable living. For close to 10 years the Center has thrived as a living example of what earth-conscious integrative systems look like and how to replicate those very systems within your own family, school and community. Take a workshop to learn how to harvest rainwater, or learn how to build a garden veggie box to enjoy fresh veggies at home. Then, turn around and take those skills to teach someone else, whether it be your children or your next door neighbor. The Ecology Center believes everyone should have access to the tools, knowledge, and skills that promote healthy communities and an abundant future for all. Their mission is simple; To provide creative solutions for a thriving planet — because together we can inspire change.
Now The Ecology Center is taking its unique programs and workshops off property, on the road, and into schools and communities near and wide. Road Trip, The Ecology Center’s double-decker, Mobile Ecological Experience, is hitting the road.
The vision for this idea started with an old, empty, double-decker bus that Jonathan Zaidman, The Ecology Center’s Replication Director and Founder of San Diego sister non-profit, 1 to 1 Movement, had access to use.
At the time, The Ecology Center was at a crossroad. Executive Director, Evan Marks, and his team were looking to expand their programs to reach those who couldn’t come to them. The un-used double-decker bus was the perfect answer to meet their expansion goals. And so, like all great concepts, transforming the 32-foot bus into a mobile learning center started as just a whisp of an idea, but with the grit of the people behind it, that idea was brought to fruition.
The result is a bus with a purpose. The lower level unfolds to reveal a fully-equipped kitchen. Andrew Sieger, The Ecology Center’s architect, retro-fitted the kitchen to function as a neat, immersive space. You’re inclined to open drawers and cupboards to appreciate the details in the design, like the mason jar dry storage spice rack that lines the back wall of the bus. Against this back-drop you can imagine chefs delighting in the kitchen’s functionality, happily cooking real farm-to-table meals where produce comes from neighboring fields straight to Road Trip’s mobile kitchen.
Inside, a spiral staircase brings you to the second level that reveals a light and bright work-space. It’s a perfect place for kids to participate in eco-skills workshops like learning how to create seed balls by packing organic compost and clay around seeds to protect them from nature’s elements.
Throughout, the walls of the bus show interactive displays that help kids identify with where food originates. One wall showcases different seeds to help kids make the connection that sunflowers come from the same seeds they chomp on and spit out at baseball games. You can imagine kids leaving a day at Road Trip feeling energized and engaged and excited to share what they learned with their family at home.
Road Trip is already slated to touch nine schools and 2,500 students, inviting kids to explore, problem solve and be architects of change. After a week of discovery, Road Trip brings the entire school community together by building a garden, creating a campus farmer’s market, or hosting a farm-to-table meal. The skills they share aren’t meant to dissolve; what lingers is an understanding that positive change is attainable — and rewarding.
Road Trip embodies exactly what The Ecology Center is all about; empowering people and communities to bring creative solutions to seemingly difficult problems. The team at The Ecology Center had a problem to solve; How can we expand our impact to bring The Ecology Center to cities throughout Southern California? It turns out it’s simple; We’ll build a mobile learning center and come to you.
To read more about Road Trip please visit www.theecologycenter.org/roadtrip/
And visit theEcologyCenter.org for more information.