Press Release

Contact: Lori Whalen

Phone: (949) 645-8489




September 12, 2019



Newport Beach, Calif., September 12, 2019 – The ENC Nature Preschool welcomed students today for the first time. 72 children, ages 2 1/2 to 5, walked through the gates where they started their day exploring the grounds of the Nature Play Area. Trails ramble through three outdoor classrooms, the Sequoia, Yosemite and Joshua Tree Play Areas. They rode bright yellow tricycles and scooters along the bicycle path imprinted with animal tracks reflecting the names of their classrooms: bears, tortoise and coyote.

Throughout the day they played and learned in the art zone, the music zone, and the organic garden. They climbed on rocks, stumps and logs, sifted sand in the sand play area, and felt mud squish through their toes in the mud pit. After lunch, they took their food scraps to the compost area and then got down to business being creative on the dramatic play stage.

ENC Nature Preschool would not have been possible without the assistance of donations from donors like Frank and Joan Randall, who recently gifted $1,000,000 to the school. The Randall’s’ gift, as well as the generosity of many, many community members, will help the new school to provide quality early childhood education through hands-on experience with Nature.

The ENC Nature Preschool classrooms are warm, welcoming and conducive to learning. The ENC is aiming to achieve Platinum LEED Certification for the new facility.  The US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. It is also the ENC’s goal to achieve certification through the Living Building Challenge. The preschool was already awarded a citation from the American Institute of Architects Orange County Chapter (AIAOCC) in 2015.

The building features a photovoltaic array to generate the energy necessary to be net-positive; water efficiency features; daylighting; recycled, regional and rapidly renewable materials; and natural ventilation.  Other sustainable features include light pollution reduction, energy use reduction, recycling programs, green housekeeping practices and an electric vehicle charging station. 

“Nature Preschools provide a safe, stimulating environment where children can reach their full potential,” said ENC Nature Preschool Director Sue Bierlich. “Research has shown that outdoor play increases fitness levels and learning outside increases students’ ability to think both critically and creatively.”

“The ENC Nature Preschool will be a model nature based school, and we are enthusiastic about sharing our model with administrators from a multitude of educational institutions -- from preschools to universities.” said ENC Executive Director Bo Glover. “We know that a nature based education can be instrumental in helping students reach their potential physically, emotionally, socially and academically. Most importantly we are passionate about empowering people to make change: to strengthen their communities, and literally save the world.”

For more information or to donate to the ENC’s Nature Preschool, visit or contact ENC Executive Director Bo Glover at 949-645-8489 ext. 101 or


About the ENC

Founded in 1972, the Environmental Nature Center has a mission of providing quality education through hands-on experience with nature.  The 5-acre landscape for learning contains a fascinating combination of 15 California native plant communities, wildlife habitat, walking trails, and sustainably designed, LEED Platinum certified learning center. Serving over 28,500 students and tens of thousands of visitors annually, the ENC is recognized as a leader in science and social science education. For nearly 50 years the ENC has inspired visitors young and old to protect the natural world by serving as our community’s foremost authority on ecological responsibility, and sustainable practices.  The ENC is a non-profit 501(c)-3 public benefit corporation.  For more information call 949-645-8489, or visit The ENC is located at 1601 16th Street in Newport Beach.

About the ENC Nature Preschool

Founded in 2019, the ENC Nature Preschool, our community’s first nature based preschool, has a mission of providing quality early childhood education through hands-on experience with nature. The ENC Nature Preschool will educate up to 72 children daily, engage parents in active learning, serve as a model nature preschool and provide a research forum on early childhood and environmental education. For more information visit The ENC Nature Preschool is located at 745 Dover Drive in Newport Beach.