3/25/14 Environmental Education Gets a New Lease On Life in Southeast San Francisco

Environmental Education Gets a New Lease On Life in Southeast San Francisco
Aquarium of the Bay Becomes New Leaseholder of EcoCenter at Bayview Hunters Point

SAN FRANCSICO, CA – March 25, 2014 - In a joint effort to increase and expand environmental education in southeast San Francisco, Aquarium of the Bay became the new leaseholder of the EcoCenter in Bayview Hunters Point.

As of March 1, Aquarium of the Bay joined forces with City College of San Francisco, the A. Philip Randolph Institute of San Francisco and the Port of San Francisco, and has already begun adding to the EcoCenter’s repertoire of community engagement and environmental education. “Our partnership with Aquarium of the Bay, City College of San Francisco, and the A. Phillip Randolph Institute has created an extraordinary blend of talents to manage and operate educational programs at the EcoCenter,” said Monique Moyer, Port Executive Director. “This unique partnership demonstrates a collaborative approach to enhancing environmental education and social justice programs for students, community organizations, and the public throughout San Francisco.”

The EcoCenter is one of the greenest buildings in San Francisco–it is a landmark in sustainable development and a model environmental education facility serving youth and families in southeast San Francisco. Its mission to engage and educate the public about the connections between healthy ecosystems and healthy urban life is a vision that Aquarium of the Bay shares, and is committed to maintaining. “We are so excited to expand our outreach programs to Bayview Hunters Point and to collaborate with such amazing partners on this new venture,” said Carrie Chen, Director of Education and Conservation at Aquarium of the Bay. “With our combined passion for the Bay and expertise in environmental education, we have the opportunity to create something truly amazing for the community of southeast San Francisco.”

With a mission to protect, restore, and inspire the conservation of San Francisco Bay from the Sierra to the sea, Aquarium of the Bay was a natural fit for the EcoCenter, whose sustainability is literally through the roof. The EcoCenter boasts a variety of impressive features, including an “off-the-grid” solar energy system, a living roof, rainwater harvesting system, an on-site wastewater treatment system with indoor constructed wetland, permeable pavements, sustainable building materials, and other resource efficient design features. The EcoCenter is the first building in Bayview Hunters Point to be certified LEED Platinum-the highest certification possible-and is the only net-zero energy building in San Francisco.

The Southeast Sector is historically known for a heavily industrialized past and continues to recover after years of blight and neglect. In a community with such a rich history, the EcoCenter will be a refreshing location where youth and young adults from the immediate neighborhood will have an opportunity to gain new experiences, explore natural habitats, and access enrichment activities that will make lasting life impressions. The A. Philip Randolph Institute will lead community engagement efforts, leveraging years of experience in building relationships in the Southeast Sector. “This is an opportunity to inspire young people to become aware of their environment, get involved in preserving their city, and become leaders of the community for the future San Francisco,” said Jacqueline Flin, Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute of San Francisco.

Over the past two years, Peggy Lopipero-Langmo of City College of San Francisco has used the EcoCenter as a living classroom where students were involved in day-to-day operations, maintenance, monitoring, and research, as well as the conduct of tours and programming for K-12 students through working professionals. The Port of San Francisco has also provided environmental education and volunteer programs for K-12 schools and other groups through a partnership with the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department’s Youth Stewardship Program. The Port and Recreation and Parks Department will continue these programs in conjunction with City College and Aquarium of the Bay. Aquarium of the Bay will grow capacity of the EcoCenter, adding curriculum for K-12 school groups and additional opportunities for the public, school children and volunteers to get involved. “The EcoCenter is an ideal setting for students to acquire work experience in sustainable development and environmental science,” said Lopipero-Langmo. “With Aquarium of the Bay at the helm, we will finally see the EcoCenter’s vision realized.”

About EcoCenter
The EcoCenter is a living classroom that demonstrates how we can better use the Earth’s resources in order to foster healthy people, ecosystems, and economies in our local communities and beyond. The EcoCenter is located in southeast San Francisco within Heron’s Head Park, a formerly underutilized area of fill in the Bay, which the Port developed as a park and wetland habitat in 1998. Today, Heron’s Head Park is comprised of eight acres of wetlands, 14 public park areas, and is a model for waterfront redevelopment, wetlands restoration, and habitat protection through community involvement. With many of the center’s programs inspired by the features of the building, educational topics include environmental science and natural resource conservation, principles of environmental justice and sustainability, ecology of Heron’s Head Park, green building technologies, sustainable building design implemented by the EcoCenter itself, and more. To learn more visit www.ecocenterhhp.org.

About Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit nature center affiliated with The Bay Institute, with a combined mission to protect, restore and inspire the conservation of San Francisco Bay and its watershed-from the Sierra to the sea. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and certified as a Green Business by the city of San Francisco. Located next to the beautiful San Francisco Bay and on the world famous PIER 39, Aquarium of the Bay is San Francisco’s only waterfront aquarium. Dedicated to the diverse marine life and ecosystems of the Bay, Aquarium of the Bay is home to approximately 20,000 animals found in the San Francisco Bay and along the California coast. Additional information about Aquarium of the Bay is available at www.aquariumofthebay.org.
Media Contact:
Mallory Johnson | Public Relations Manager | Aquarium of the Bay | mallory@bay.org | 415.623.5340