Mission Complete! We did it! SOS: Save the Living Coast Discovery Center!

10/29/2013 UPDATE! The Living Coast Discovery Center Has Been Saved! 

I am thrilled to share that as a result of an overwhelming amount of community support (by individuals and organizations alike), the Living Coast Discovery Center DOUBLED the amount they needed to stay open! They were able to raise $401,000!

Click here and here for more details.

I am SO proud of all the staffers, docents and volunteers who fought like crazy to make this happen and I am SO thankful to all those who donated and spread the word.

San Diegans, if you haven’t been there yet, check it out!

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Who: The Living Coast Discovery Center

What: The Living Coast Discovery Center has announced a closing date of October 28, 2013 if it does not receive financial support. See the full details and a press release here.

What can you do?: Please donate to support this important facility and please share this story so the Living Coast Discovery Center can continue to spread passion for nature and environmental education.

The Living Coast Discovery Center. photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

The Living Coast Discovery Center. photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

The Living Coast Discovery Center, a small but powerful non-profit, is a magical place. Located in San Diego’s south bay it serves many underrepresented groups, connecting the public with nature, sometimes for the very first time.  It boasts an amazing array of native (naturally local) animals and plants, including bald eagles, endangered green sea turtles, stingrays you can pet, and beautiful endangered agave plants (for a full list of exhibits, click here).  It provides hands-on education via day camps, overnight adventures, VIP animal encounters, on-site classes and more!  Click here to watch a video about the schools that hold their classes there.

The Living Coast Discovery Center is a source of pride for local Chula Vista residents and is, unfortunately, one of San Diego’s best kept secrets.

Like many young non-profits it is struggling financially and needs your help to continue to inspire both the young and old to see the wonder and beauty in nature.  It needs people, like you, who care about wildlife, conservation, environmental education and local organizations, to come together and help raise awareness and funds so it can continue it’s important and impactful work.

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center  from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

Green sea turtles – you can take behind the scene VIP tours and meet their resident turtles up close!                                               photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

Check out an adorable video of a VIP sea turtle encounter here!

one of the raptors you can visit onsite - nearly all of the birds onsite are rescue birds that are non-releasable. photo credit: thelivingcoast.org

one of the raptors you can visit onsite – nearly all of the birds onsite are rescue birds that are non-releasable. photo credit: thelivingcoast.org

One of the natural scenes you can see in the surrounding marsh. photo credit: thelivingcoast.org

One of the natural scenes you can see in the surrounding marsh. photo credit: thelivingcoast.org

Check out their awesome photo gallery here.

Their mission is  to inspire care and exploration of the living Earth by connecting people with coastal animals, plants and habitats. The people that work and volunteer there are so dedicated that one staff member offered to swim the San Diego coastline to raise awareness of this facility and the work they do. That’s the kind of impact it has on people, it’s visitors, board members, volunteers and staff members alike. Some of the volunteers and staff members have vested their entire savings to help keep this place going, but they cannot do it alone. Please donate if you can and spread the word. Every little bit can help.

Garibaldi - the State fish of California and a local San Diego and Living Coast Discovery Center resident! photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

Garibaldi – the State fish of California and a local San Diego and Living Coast Discovery Center resident! photo credit: The Living Coast Discovery Center from http://www.crowdrise.com/swimSanDiego

Why am I such a strong advocate for the Living Coast Discovery Center? Working there for 3 years changed my life. As a direct result I am now in pursuit of a PhD in Marine Biology, studying sea turtle biology and conservation, so that I can continue to be a strong advocate for environmental education, conservation and the use of facilities like the Discovery Center to promote responsible use and exploration of nature.

Me with the first sea turtle I ever worked with. A green turtle at the Living Coast Discovery Center

Here I am with the first sea turtle I ever worked with,  a green turtle at the Living Coast Discovery Center. Four years later I’m working towards a PhD studying sea turtle biology & conservation

I got hired at the Living Coast Discovery Center fresh out of college from UC San Diego. I was hired to help develop the fee-based education programs that have now been running for 3.5 years and have served children from San Diego, Arizona, Mexico, China and Alaska.  Board members have sponsored camp fees for local charities, so that underprivileged children can explore and discover everything the Center has to offer.  Local schools come for field trips year-round where they get to learn about the nature in their own backyard. I personally saw over one-thousand children interact at the Discovery Center and it is my memory of their awe and excitement that keeps me going through the tough days of graduate school. I know that the work that I helped start – the work that the Living Coast Discovery Center continues to do and improve on, is making a difference in people’s lives through hands-on connections with nature. It is actively inspiring people to care and explore their own backyards.

Please help support this cause in any way you can. Donate to help save this amazing facility and one of San Diego’s best destinations for families! Please share this story and let’s keep the Living Coast Discovery Center open! 

 

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1. http://www.thelivingcoast.org/about-us/overview/

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