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2016

THE ECOLOGY CENTER

Annual Report 2015

The Ecology Center 32701 Alipaz Street San Juan Capistrano, California 92675 949.443.4223 TheEcologyCenter.org


THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

LETTER FROM EVAN Last year, we set out on a seasonal journey to explore an integrated ecological approach to living and learning in southern California. Each season, we focused our offerings on the offerings of the natural world. As stewards of both land and community, we followed seasonal patterns and modeled solutions to living in harmony with our environment. With little rain to speak of during 2015, we focused Winter on distributing as many rain barrels as possible throughout the community -- educating families about the importance of capturing this precious resource and keeping our oceans clean from runoff. In Spring, we rallied around skills needed to cultivate an organic garden -- hosting a community Earth Day event to inspire us all to get our hands in the soil. With the Summer came a time for celebration. We hosted our sixth annual Green Feast dinner, focused on healthy, delicious, and sustainable food. Finally, the Fall season focus culminated in our Handmade: Makers Market festival, reminding us that buying local produce and products ensures a healthy community. Each year, our work becomes stronger and stronger -- more connected to meaningful solutions and offerings that truly contribute to an even healthier community and environment. This year, we are more excited than ever to scale these seasonal ideas to inspire even more advocates of sustainability. We have expanded these solutions to become initiatives, driven by an engaged, empowered community. This allows us to deepen our engagement and expand our impact. The Ecology Center, as both a facility and organization, continues to serve as a model of simple solutions that can be emulated everywhere to enhance the vitality and sustainability of our spaces. Thank you for joining us on this journey towards a healthy, abundant future.

Evan Marks

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

THE ECOLOGY CENTER The Ecology Center highlights empowering and cutting-edge environmental perspectives that can be applied to the way we live our lives, making it possible for us to coexist with a thriving environment. Our team of full and part-time employees, volunteers, and board members are all dedicated to the idea that any individual can make a difference towards a sustainable future.

OUR HIGHLY QUALIFIED & ENGAGED BOARD OF DIRECTORS INCLUDES: Ryan O’Melveny Wilson - Board Chairman Executive Chef, Lawry’s Restaurants Eric Paine - Board Treasurer & Secretary Principal, Community Development Partners Ben Edwards - Board Member VP of Global Outreach, Hurley Rick Bolton - Board Member Brand & Business Strategist Laura Donovan - Board Member Marketing Manager, Chipotle Mexican Grill Kay Taygan - Board Member Volunteer, The Ecology Center Dan Pingaro - Board Member Executive Director, Laguna Beach Community Foundation Ann Shea - Board Member Sustainable Agriculture Advocate

ADDITIONAL ADVISORS: Joe Baird Dave Kennedy Manuel Toscano

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

2015 OVERALL IMPACT Digital Community 126,000 Total Program Participants 48,065 Children 27,010 Adults 10,075 Public Programs 5,397 School Programs 28,096 Grow Your Own! Garden Program Schools

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Visitors 11,000 Volunteer Hours 2,400

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

COMMUNITY IMPACT: GATHERINGS

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

EARTH DAY FESTIVAL SATURDAY, APRIL 11TH In celebration of Earth Day, we welcomed more than 1,500 community members to our We Are Earth Day Festival. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps donated $1 to our Grow Your Own! program for every pledge made to make every day Earth Day!

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

GREEN FEAST SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH Organic farmers, ranchers, winemakers, and renowned chefs gathered to serve more than 300 attendees at The Ecology Center’s seventh annual Green Feast. Our annual fundraiser was also a dynamic discussion about sustainable food and healthy ecosystems.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

MAKER’S MARKET SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8TH The Ecology Center’s second Maker’s Market gathered 1200 community members and twice as many artisans as the previous year. Craftspeople throughout Southern California gathered to share their wares and discuss the importance of supporting local goods, food, and community.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

COMMUNITY TABLE OCTOBER 2015 - JULY 2016 This year, The Ecology Center launched a farm dinner series called Community Table, featuring local and international leaders in the sustainable food movement. Each month, we pair a leading chef with a local farmer, rancher, or fisherman to tell a unique story about a particular element of a healthy food system.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

GET BARRELED MARCH 2015 In celebration of World Water Day 2015, The Ecology Center distributed 179 rain barrels to the Southern California community. These barrels collectively save 150,000 gallons a year, while preventing harmful runoff from reaching the ocean.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

HURLEY PRO SEPTEMBER 2015 The Ecology Center engaged visitors at the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro surf competition to introduce The Water Effect. Interactive signage on the sand showed 10 simple solutions to save water every day and a PSA with surf legend Rob Machado was featured on the World Surf League’s international live coverage.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

SCHOOL PROGRAMS Our Eco Labs field trips, school garden program, Eco Tots, Farm Lab Summer Camps, and other educational offerings impacted almost 30,000 students, parents, and educators last year.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

PARTNERS We are continually grateful for the ongoing support of our generous partners. The Ecology Center is engaged in a model of creative, collaborative relationships with our corporate and private sponsors. By cultivating thoughtful partnerships, we are able to support our vision of inspiring a healthy community. Thank you to Hurley, Chipotle, Kia and the many other corporate, foundation, and private donors who have joined us on this journey of positive impact.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

2015 FINANCIALS INCOME Grants and Partnerships $420,042 Earned Income $338,859 Donations and Memberships $284,703 TOTAL INCOME $1,043,604 EXPENSES Programs and Facility $811,221 G&A $176,456 Fundraising $32,241 TOTAL EXPENSES $1,019,918 NET INCOME $23,686

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

2016: VISION NATIONAL VISIBILITY We will continue to create high quality, unique educational content to inspire, engage and expand the visibility and activation of our core initiatives and organization at large. Our work this year will scale the impact of these resources. By strategically partnering with prominent content distributors, we are able to put our content in the hands of people across the country.

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS The Ecology Center will continue to practice a model of social enterprise. By supplementing our partnerships, donations, fundraising, and grants with paid income opportunities, we are able to practice truly sustainable business. Creating scalable initiatives will allow us to offer robust paid services to the community which support our vision of a sustainable future, in addition to our subsidized educational offerings.

REGIONAL IMPACT In 2016, we are deeply committed to continuing to have a positive impact in our local community. Our goal is to engage over 10,000 individuals with hands-on learning at Community Events (4,000), School/Youth Initiatives (6,500) and Skills-based Programming (1,100).

COMMUNITY TRANSFORMATION Through 4 community-based initiatives, we have set a goal to make tangible change through project-based transformation. In 2016, we will empower 100 Community Projects including school gardens, backyard ecosystems, and sustainable practices in restaurants throughout the region.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

2016: INITIATIVE DRIVEN Expanding on our seasonal effort to engage more advocates of sustainability, we are shifting our organizational focus in 2016 towards community-based initiatives. Our intention around an initiative-driven organization is to further develop and build educational experiences that are replicable throughout the community–creating a model to expand a culture of sustainability. In 2016, we focus on our community initiatives to galvanize our collective change making: •

The Water Effect - Good water stewardship / Winter

Grow Your Own! - Vibrant garden ecosystems / Spring

Community Table Accord - Sustainable food systems / Summer

Handmade Makers Market - Artisan craft culture / Fall

Each of these initiatives seek to inspire our collective community in solutions to ensure our healthy and vibrant future. Looking forward, The Ecology Center’s role in facilitating meaningful ecological impact throughout the region magnifies as we actively seek community collaboration through the development of platforms and programs to scale our reach.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

OUR INITIATIVES

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

THE WATER EFFECT The Water Effect is a solutionsoriented initiative that challenges our community to rethink how we use water. By utilizing a dynamic digital platform of resources and social media in combination with hands-on skills workshops, The Ecology Center inspires real-time water conservation. Last year’s rainwater catchment initiative Get Barreled will be repeated this year, with an increased goal of distributing 500 rain barrels throughout Southern California with the help of our partners at Surfrider Foundation.

25,000 DIGITAL INTERACTIONS 25,000 ON-CAMPUS INTERACTIONS The Water Effect initiative is supported by our partners at

and the Municipal Water District of Orange County.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

GROW YOUR OWN! This year, our successful school garden program Grow Your Own! expands beyond the classroom to encompass all types of communities. The Ecology Center aims to empower inspired individuals to cultivate healthy garden ecosystems in neighborhoods, community spaces, and beyond. Through digital resources, on-site support, Eco-Design Guild services, hands-on workshops, and TEC office hours, we will support the addition of 100 new garden spaces to the region this year.

100 GARDENS 1,000 INDIVIDUALS TRAINED Grow Your Own! thanks our friends at

for a third consecutive year of supporting the vision of gardens in every community.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

COMMUNITY TABLE ACCORD The Ecology Center has revisited and expanded our successful Community Table farm dinner series to include a deeper dive into sustainable food systems. Innovative chefs are paired with local farmers and purveyors to create dynamic stories and meals around specific components of a sustainable food system. Each dinner, farm, and chef of the ten part series will be documented in detail in a cookbook to be published at the end of this year. Participating chefs are joined by other restaurant leaders in signing the Community Table Accord–a document pledging commitment to a sustainable, healthy kitchen.

10 DINNERS 100 CHEFS

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

ARTISAN CULTURE The success of a second-annual Handmade: Maker’s Market in the fall of 2015 highlighted a regional need for support of artisan culture and purchasing with purpose. The Ecology Center focuses its fall season on conscious consumption, and supporting craft that is local and sustainable. Hands-on skill workshops, as well as digital resources informed by local artisans aim to bring back a culture of intention.

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THE ECOLOGY CENTER // ANNUAL REPORT 2015

THE FUTURE IS ABUNDANT!

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Profile for The Ecology Center

Annual Report 2015  

A review of The Ecology Center's 2015 community impact and a look forward to 2016 initiatives.

Annual Report 2015  

A review of The Ecology Center's 2015 community impact and a look forward to 2016 initiatives.

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