Category: All things educational

Get your 4th Grader’s Park Pass Today!

EveryKidinthePark2I originally wrote about the exciting Every Kid in the Park program back in February. This fantastic program provides every fourth grader and their family free admission to our national parks and recreational sites for a full year!

Today is the day!!! Go online to print your family pass. The pass is good through 2015-2016 school year. This also happens to coincide with 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

Our national lands and waters belong to everyone. That includes you! Use this pass to visit any of them for free.

Every Kid in a Park sample pass Official rules

  • The pass is for U.S. fourth graders (or home-school equivalent) students.
  • The pass is for the 2015 to 2016 school year. It expires August 31, 2016.
  • Students can’t transfer the pass to anyone else.
  • We can’t accept electronic versions of this paper for access or to exchange for a pass.
  • There’s no way to request a refund later if you forget the pass when you visit.
  • If you lose your pass, get a new one by visiting the website and signing up again.
  • Educators can get one paper pass for each of their fourth-grade students.

How it works

  • Show your pass to a ranger when you enter. If there is no ranger, leave it on the dashboard of your car.
  • If you visit a site that charges entrance fees per person— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults for free.
  • If your group visits a site that charges vehicle fees – The pass admits all children under 16 and all adults in up to one passenger vehicle. Commercial vehicles can’t use a pass to get in.
  • If you arrive at a site on bicycle— The pass admits all children under 16 and up to three adults on bicycles.
  • The pass doesn’t cover things like camping, boats, and special tours. Also, some sites are managed by private operators. They may not honor the pass. Check with the site ahead of time to find out.
  • The pass doesn’t cover fees for local, city, or state parks and recreation areas unless they say that they accept this pass.

Get out there and start exploring! Use this link to find a National Park near you.



Wolves: Myths & Legends

Image from
Image from

Join Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary as Project Wildsong hosts an educational presentation with live ambassador Grey Wolves. This interactive family-friendly program will delight all!

Listen as wolf folklore captures your imagination. Hear Native American stories of this fascinating and misunderstood animal. Learn about the reintroduction of wolves into their natural habitat and take a picture with a live wolf.

  • When: Saturday, August 29, 2105 from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
  • Where: Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, 29322 Modjeska Canyon Road Silverado, CA 92676 
  • Cost: $6 per person, Reservations are Required – Call (714) 649-2760 to purchase your ticket

Tanaka Farms Watermelon Tours

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours – Image from

You can’t have a 4th of July celebration without Watermelon. Why not pick you own watermelon before heading out to your celebration. Tanaka Farms is offering Watermelon tours beginning today and run through August 30, 2015.

The Summer Watermelon Tours begin. Take a guided wagon ride around the farm, stop at different areas and try different summer fruits and vegetables they grow, and finally step into the watermelon patch under a tent to sample some of our delicious home grown watermelon.  Take home a mini watermelon to experience everything all over again. Tours begin at 9:30 every morning

  • Watermelon Tours start and will run at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm
  • Strawberry Tours will run 10am, 11am, 12pm, and 1pm.

Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA.


Food for Thought Film Series


The Great Park presents the film “Hungry for Change” as part of the “Food for Thought” film series. Hungry for Change explores the pitfalls and deceptive strategies used in the diet, weight loss and food industries that may be keeping many from having the body and health they desire.

The Food for Thought Documentary Series features powerful films highlighting topics concerning both the abundance and scarcity of food in America. Chosen for their cinematic beauty, significant relevance, and credible resources, this thought-provoking series will leave you inspired and empowered.

Bring a blanket or lawn chair, healthy snacks and expand your perspective on long-term health, beauty and food sustainability. Film begins at dusk.

  • When: Thursday, July 2, 2015 from 7:15 pm – 9:00 pm
  • Where: The Great Park – Back 40 Lawn | Map & Directions
  • Cost: Free

Next Food For Thought Film:

August 6, 2015 – Place at the Table

For additional information, please email:


Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours

Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours
Tanaka Farms U-Pick Tours – Image from

Looking for something fun to do in the afternoon? Come to Tanaka Farms this week for U-Pick tours and Walk-On Strawberry tours. There are No reservations required  and you only pay for what you pick.

U-Pick Tours:

This FREE, guided wagon ride around the farm, takes between 45 minutes to 1 1/4 hours. You’ll be able to pick your own fresh fruits and vegetables in the fields, so be sure to wear closed-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.

Vegetable picking is seasonal and based on availability, but U-Pick produce may include:carrots, tomatoes, beets, baby bok choy, lettuce, kale, butternut squash and more. It’s a surprise every day! Pay for what you’ve picked at the end of your tour.

This week tour time are as follows:

  • Monday (6/22) 2:00 pm
  • Tuesday (6/23): 2.00pm
  • Wednesday (6/24): 2:00pm
  • Thursday (6/25): 2:00pm
  • Friday (6/26): 2:00pm

Walk-On Strawberry:

Again, no reservations are required, just arrive 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour. Strawberries are wonderful right now – sweet and juicy and you get to pick them right off the vine! Don’t miss out!

This weeks tour times are as follows:

  • Monday (6/22): 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday (6/23): 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday (6/24): 11:00 am and 1:00pm
  • Thursday (6/25) 11:00 am and 1:00 pm
  • Friday (6/26): at 11:00am, 12:00pm, and 1:00pm

Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 3/4 University Dr, Irvine, CA. Come on out for an educational and hands on experience!


OC Zoo Summer Program

wpid-2014-11-25_21.15.11.jpgSchool is out and the OC Zoo has a Summer Programs for kids preschool age & up. The programs feature crafts and hands-on learning as the staff introduces OC Zoo animals to the children. The children are all given a chance to touch (almost all) the animals while providing the children with animal facts. After the program be sure to catch storytime under the beautiful trees.


This weeks scheduled programs:

Under the Sea Preschool Program – children ages 3-4 will learn all about animals in the ocean including fish, dolphins, sharks, and more! Class includes hands-on learning, fun crafts, and meeting zoo animals up close!

  • Ages 3-4 years old only. Parent must accompany child for duration of program
  • Fee: $5 per child (includes one adult).
  • Date: 6/24/2015
  • Time: 10:15 AM – 11:15 AM


Upcycling Animal Craft Fun – Kids ages 5 -8 will make fun crafts out of recyclable materials you have at home! Please bring a large bottle cap and quart-sized plastic jug to class.

  • Ages 5-8 years old only. Parent may accompany child for duration of program.
  • Fee: $5 per child (includes one adult).
  • Date: 6/25/2015
  • Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Be sure arrive at the zoo gate by 9:45 am to purchase your ticket as the program begins promptly at their scheduled times. Parents must accompany their children for the entire program.

  • OC Zoo is located inside Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
  • Cost: $5.00, per child (includes the program fee and entrance to the zoo for one child and one adult/guardian) and a park entrance fee of $3.00 per vehicle.

Phone registration is required. To register for a class call (714) 973-6846.


AWE: Luxurious Sustainability


It is a common conception that living sustainably is inconvenient, expensive or plain old boring!  John Malek will shed light on luxurious, fun and affordable ways to live a sustainable life you love.

The AWE Lecture Series is intended to bring together a community of like-minded and highly engaged forward-thinking innovators, designers, educators, and environmentally and socially concerned individuals to explore topics that are intimately relevant to our beautiful Orange County land and the people who live here.

  • When: Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Where: OC Great Park, | Map & Directions
  • Cost: Free

More Than Honey

wpid-2015-05-01_13.40.38.jpgJoin The Ecology Center in the garden for the Farm Film Series: More Than Honey.

More Than Honey is a film about the alarming disappearance of bees and its effect on all of us.The film is sponsored by the Ecology Center’s partner, Chipotle. Engage with a representative from Chipotle as they share insights into the future of sustainably raised food. Plus, enjoy FREE delicious, GMO-free tacos from Chipotle!

Be sure to bring your own chair and blanket for an educational evening in the garden with food, drinks and a film screening under the stars!

This event was previously set for May 7th but had to be reschuled due to rain.

Space is limited, please sign up early. Register Online

  • When: Thursday, June 11, 2105 at 7:00 pm
  • Where: The Ecology Center, 32701 Alipaz St., San Juan Capistrano, 92675
  • Cost: FREE

Home Remedies Workshop


This Saturday, May23, 2015, The Ecology Center presents “Home Remedies & Herbal Medicine Workshop”. Learn how to make use of the healing and long term health benefits of alternative and herbal medicine.

Herbology (herbal medicine) is extremely effective, gentle to both people and the environment, non-addictive, natural, and sustainable. It is virtually cost-free as your medicine cabinet can be sourced from your garden. Understanding the medicinal value of plants and the best ways to use them can keep your family, community, and the environment healthy.

Join the Ecology Center for this intensive 4 hour alternative healing and herbology hands-on workshop. You will gain accessible and practical knowledge on alternative ways to treat simple and more complex health conditions.

  • Start by learning about a few simple alternative ways to deal with simple headaches, allergies and injuries.

  • Explore the garden, a few medicinal herbs and their uses, and engage in a hands-on herbal medicine making lesson.

  • Discuss culinary plants that work in your medicine cabinet including sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and hyssop among others.

  • Gather in the orchard and learn how to use apples, peaches, lemons and more to make medicine.

  • Make and take home an herbal medicine that fits your needs and start your own Natural Medicine Chest.

This popular workshop occurs just once a year. Register now for the opportunity to learn at home remedies from two highly qualified experts in the field of natural healing.


Dr. Doug has over 30 years of experience in healing as a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. His passion, research, and years of practice with herbology and food as medicine are integral elements in his approach to health. He is a vital part of the education provided by The Ecology Center, through his contributions of research, writing, and class instruction.

Rebecca Altman is a herbalist and writer who has been practicing herbalism for 9 years, and studying for even longer. She’s had the great fortune to learn from some of the most brilliant people in modern herbalism— Kiva Rose, Jim McDonald, Matthew Wood— and the even greater fortune to have spent a lot of time working with the plants she regularly gathers from the wild, learning their secrets from observing their patterns. Her approach to herbalism is in looking at the connections between things— between humans and the planet, between humans and each other, and between abstract concepts and grounded practices, to make them accessible to all of us. She writes about herbalism and the human condition at and she sells her herbal creations at

Herbalist Rebecca Altman harvesting medicine

  • When: Saturday, May 23, 2015 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Where: The Ecology Center, 32701 Alipaz St. San Juan Capistrano, 92675
  • Cost: $30 for Members & $40 for Non-Members

Young Authors’ Faire

Young Authors' Faire“Celebrate Your Story” at The 14th Annual Young Authors’ Faire on Saturday, May 16, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The Young Authors’ Faire is a community literacy showcase celebration for students that include opportunities to engage in hands on activities, learn about literacy programs, meet authors, illustrators, storytellers and more.

This is the second year that we are partnering with the Orange County Public Libraries at three regional locations, including: Aiso Viejo, La Habra, and Tustin.

Each Location has an afternoon of fun activities and performances scheduled:

Aliso Viejo Preformers include: Cowboy Ken  DreamShapers, Author: Anna Hayes, and activities by Chuck Jones Center for CreativityZaner-BloserLakeshore Learning

La Habra performers include: Ina Buckner BarnetteDreamShapers, Author: Drew Daywalt (The Day the Crayons Quit! & The Day the Crayons Came Home)  and activities by RIFSoCalDiscovery Cube Orange CountyLakeshore LearningTJ Ticket, Ticket to ReadVoyager Sopris LearningRead ConmigoLa Habra Girl Scouts

Tustin Performers include: Illustator Joe CepedaMichael McCarty,  Dreamshapers and activities by Orange County Children’s Book FestivalKids Talk RadioOccupy Mars Learning AdventureRIF SoCalPBS SoCalLakeshore LearningOnce Upon a StorybookInside the OutdoorsIrvine Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast