The Reserve is home to the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, which was designed by renowned local artist James Hubbell and opened in 2009. This one-of-a-kind facility is the result of the collaborative efforts of Olivenhain Municipal Water District and the Escondido Creek Conservancy. This unique partnership between a public agency and a land conservancy provides educational opportunities for the public and promotes land stewardship.
The Center is maintained and managed by the OMWD, who received $68,500 in federal funding to begin the project. The Escondido Creek Conservancy raised over $565,000 from individual donors to complete the Center’s design and construction. An additional $200,000 has been raised by the Conservancy to enhance the Center and support educational programs.
The Center contains many permanent artistic components, including several original works by James Hubbell and his collaborations with other artists. The building also features green design elements such as recycled building materials, solar panels powered by photovoltaic cells, and a green “living” roof.
The Center gives a voice to the Escondido Creek watershed, inspiring visitors to feel connected to nature, value open space and the creek, and join in conserving this precious North County resource through personal and community stewardship.
The Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., subject to docent availability.
Susan J. Varty was a board director for OMWD from 1994 until her passing in 2009. Ms. Varty exhibited a passion and tenacity for water issues while balancing environmental conservancy and fiscal conservatism. Instrumental in obtaining several grants to support the Reserve, she was also diligent in developing and maintaining an excellent working relationship with Reserve partner, the Escondido Creek Conservancy. On July 22, 2009, OMWD’s board expressed its appreciation for her many years of dedicated leadership, tireless effort, and commitment to serve OMWD customers and Reserve visitors with the naming of the “Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty.”
More information is available by emailing us or calling 760-632-4212.