On October 26, 2022, the City of Long Beach, in partnership with the Conservation Corps of Long Beach (CCLB), celebrated the grand opening of a new Environmental Education Center at DeForest Park (6255 DeForest Ave.). Hosted by CCLB, the grand opening event included a ceremonial ribbon cutting and remarks by CCLB Executive Director and CEO Dan Knapp, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) Director Brent Dennis, among others.
“The Environmental Education Center at DeForest Park is a fantastic new resource for our community that will help foster the next generation of environmental stewards here in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We are grateful to our Conservation Corps partners for their incredible work engaging young people preserve and restore our environment.”
The Environmental Education Center features a community space and training area and will serve as a satellite office for CCLB staff to support their work along the lower Los Angeles River and community environmental stewardship activities at the DeForest Park and Wetlands.
With its adjacency to the Los Angeles River and DeForest Wetlands, the Environmental Education Center will support CCLB’s environmental-related work and provide training opportunities for youth and young adults to serve as community stewards while serving as the home to the organization’s new River Rangers program. The facility is also an example of sustainable landscaping and architecture through its environmentally friendly features including a reflective roof, dual pane windows and native landscaping planted by Conservation Corps members.
“I am so excited for the opening of the brand-new Environmental Education Center right here in the Ninth District,” said Vice Mayor Rex Richardson. “This center will offer residents and visitors of our community the opportunity to learn and explore sustainability and environmental opportunities and will enhance the overall experience of park and wetlands visitors.”
“The facility was designed to be sustainable. The landscape is done with all native and drought tolerant plants, the roof is solar-ready and extends for shading to help keep the facility cool, the plumbing is low-flow and the lighting is all energy-efficient. One of the best things about the facility is the stormwater capture feature that collects stormwater underground which is critical to addressing diminishing water supplies and important when considering climate change,” said Dan Knapp, CCLB executive director and CEO. “We are grateful for the investments made by our funders and sponsors – this facility would not be possible without support from so many people.”
The development of the center was planned in accordance with the DeForest Park Vision Plan, which was produced in partnership with PRM, CCLB, City Fabrick, Camp Fire Angeles Council and the DeForest Park Neighborhood Association and made possible by a $1.9 million grant by the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) to the CCLB with additional funding support provided by the Port of Long Beach and the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn.