Explore Our New Nature Center

On Saturday, Dec. 14, County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation opened a new Nature Center in Santa Ysabel

Festivities kicked off at 10:30 a.m. with live music by Donn Bree in the patio, a mystery skulls game, recycling bean bag toss, leaf pressing and seed-balling activities, and a meet-and-greet with local alpacas. Inside, guests perused a pop-up art gallery where live artists were painting, spinning and weaving. They also got a chance to talk to local businesses and park agencies.

At 11:45 a.m. guests congregated near the main entrance for a formal presentation, which featured Vice-Chairwoman Bernice Paipa of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel and bird song by tribal performance troupe Ashaa Takook. Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob talked about land acquisition and the quest to bring a nature center to the back country. Other speakers included Ben Clay, Chief of the San Diego River Conservancy, Dwight Worden, member of the San Dieguito River Park JPA and Colleen Bradley, Executive Director of the Volcan Mountain Foundation. Acting Director for County Parks – Jason Hemmens – closed the presentation, thanking sponsors and leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony.  

Afterward, “fiddle girl” Celia Lawley played tunes in the patio and the Nature Center’s educational displays were finally open for the public to explore. Julian-based coffee shop Regulars Wanted,set up a small beverage station, and certified food handlers dished apple crumble pie, made fresh by Mom’s Pie House. County Parks staff shared expertise via a nature touch table, birds of prey demonstration, Junior Rangers program, guided hike and architectural tour.  

View photos from the Grand Opening!

Innovative, engaging and energy-efficient, the 6,000-square-foot, Zero Net Energy, LEED Gold Santa Ysabel Nature Center is poised to boost recreation opportunity while offering new connections to local history, wildlife, and preservation efforts. 

Hours of operation vary by season; visit the park page for more information.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors:

  • Volcan Mountain Foundation
    Sponsor/Agency Partner: Volcan Mountain Foundation
  • Parks Society
    Sponsor: San Diego County Parks Society
  • Red Hawk Realty
    Sponsor: Red Hawk Realty
  • Pacific Sotheby's
    Sponsor: Marguerite Apostolas Team - Pacific Sotheby's
  • Olive & Oak Antiques
    Sponsor: Olive & Oak Antiques
  • Alba Alpacas
    In-Kind Donation: Alba Alpacas
  • Julian Dark Sky Network
    In-Kind Donation: Julian Dark Sky Network
  • Julain Weaving Works
    In-Kind Donation: Julian Weaving Works
  • Fiddle Girl
    In-Kind Donation: Celia Lawley - Fiddle Girl
  • Joe Garcia Fine Art
    In-Kind Donation: Joe Garcia Fine Art
  • Don Bree
    In-Kind Donation: Don Bree
  • Mom's Pies Julian
    In-Kind Donation: Mom's Pies
  • Santa Ysabel Art Gallery
    In-Kind Donation: Santa Ysabel Art Gallery
  • Ashaa Takook Bird Singers
    In-Kind Donation: Ashaa Takook Bird Singers
  • I Love a Clean San Diego
    Agency Partner: I Love a Clean San Diego
  • The Nature Conservancy
    Agency Partner: The Nature Conservancy
  • San Dieguito River Park
    Agency Partner: San Dieguito River Park
  • San Diego River Park Foundation
    Agency Partner: San Diego River Park Foundation
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