The San Gabriel River Discovery Center has moved through a long and inclusive community process. It began with 20 stakeholder groups and the project is now embraced by hundreds of supporters.
The Discovery Center project has undergone environmental reviews and outreached to hundreds of environmental organizations, school districts, city councils and other elected officials.
In 2014 the San Gabriel River Discovery Center raised over $9 million dollars to launch the first stage of the project to revitalize habitat, re-populate the Whittier Narrows area—long degraded by industrial and agricultural uses–with native trees and plants. It expands teaching capacity for EcoVoices, the acclaimed inquiry-based program that takes a community science approach to environmental stewardship education.
Since 2012 EcoVoices has brought more than 7,000 K-12 students to the San Gabriel River watershed area at Whittier Narrows. A busload of San Gabriel Valley youth have arrived once a week to participate in a lively interactive program that provides a background in San Gabriel River watershed cultural history, ecology and biology. They hike the trails, connect with the river’s animals, habitat and culture and learn scientific methods and the importance of protecting our water resources.
Collaboration with the City of Los Angeles brought the EcoVoices to 32 parks in the 2015 summer months, introducing local young people around the city to environmental science methods and science, technology engineering and math (STEM) education.
That’s 10,000 youth whose lives have been touched by EcoVoices.
The first stage of Discovery Center development provides classrooms, exhibit space and laboratory areas and enable EcoVoices to operate more than once weekly. It significantly boosts EcoVoices’s capacity to provide science and technology training to San Gabriel Valley youth to prepare them for the future.
Architects are presently at work and construction documents are approaching completion. In January 2016 the work will begin on the site to create room for the development to begin.
Fundraising is now directed towards stage two of the project which will see the new discovery center update exhibits and create a state-of-the-art learning facility that invites the larger community into the discussion about our shared environmental future.