Audubon Center update
- From: Martha Benedict <mfbenedict@ earthlink.net>
Montecito Heights Improvement Assoc. Vice President Tom Berg
organized an officers' tour of the Audubon Center last week. Tom and
secretaries Donnette Thayer and Martha Benedict gathered at the
construction trailer Wednesday afternoon for Darryl Ramos-Young's
excellent overview of the Center. [President Dianne Ryan and
Treasurer Robert Nakahiro were unable to come.] Darryl oriented us
using a model of the structure.
There will be a 32-space parking area at the level of the
building up the driveway from Griffin Avenue. A room dedicated to
visitor use containing computers and microscopes will be on the left
and a reception desk with offices on the right. There will also be a
community room available for meetings. Outside, at the other end of
the structure will be a lovely courtyard and a special children's
garden at the base of the slope, full of fun things to do under a
huge, old pepper tree.
The Center is going for a "platinum" status as a no-impact
ecological facility. It will have a self-contained waste disposal
system, irrigating the grounds with its own treated water. The
building will be solar-powered from panels on its black roof. The
structure will be painted a soft tan color with sage green trim to
blend with the landscape. Every detail of environmental sensitivity
has been considered, down to the countertops covered in tile made
from compressed sunflower husks. This has taken a lot of extra work
to accomplish, but it will pay off as an example for other building
projects to follow.
We walked up the driveway to see the construction in progress.
Darryl described the landscaping plans, all native plants with
eventual hopes of restoring the hillside to its original condition
of walnut-oak woodland. One unexpected feature of the site is the
scenic panorama of the Arroyo--and this was a hazy day. On a clear
day, it will be amazing.
Check out the part of Audubon's web site that presents an
overview of Debs park. It will give you an idea of their standards
and attention to detail:
If we were enthusiastic about the Audubon Center before, we are
ecstatic now, eagerly awaiting the opening later this summer.