Building for the Future: Phase Two

The Hitchcock Center is open and accessible to all people who seek greater environmental knowledge, understanding, and action in support of a more ecologically sustainable, socially just, and culturally rich future. To achieve this goal, Phase Two of our Building for the Future Campaign seeks to raise $875,000 from within our community to cover the costs associated with:

  • Living Building Commissioning and Certification

    The Living Building ChallengeTM certification process is exacting and time-consuming. As of this writing, only a dozen buildings in the world have met the criteria. The Hitchcock Center now enters an intensive period of commissioning, testing, and documentation as we undergo certification. Our design-build team and sustainability consultant will work with the International Living Future Institute and the Center over a 12-month period to conclude this critical performance review and audit. To achieve certification, we will purchase a one-time carbon o set to account for the total footprint of embodied carbon related to the construction of our building. And we will place into a permanent conservation restriction an amount of land equal to what we developed (2.77 acres), elsewhere in the Valley. These are critical requirements of the Living Building Challenge’sTM framework to achieve true sustainability in the built environment.

  • Accessible Nature Trails

    We will create an interpretive network of nature trails that are accessible to people with a wide range of physical abilities, and work to attract traditionally underserved communities to provide positive experiences with our natural world. Our trails will incorporate universally designed features, such as a trailhead kiosk with maps and guides, educational and sensory stops, interpretive displays, and way- finding and navigational resources that may include audio directions, guide ropes, curbing, and handrails.

  • The Teaching Gardens
 at Hitchcock


    The Teaching Gardens at Hitchcock will use regenerative design and horticultural principles to promote hands-on connections to the
green and growing world for all. Practices will encourage greater soil health and nurture a range of plants. Participants will be planting, sprouting, weeding, and harvesting a wide variety of plants as well
as trying their hands at outdoor design and targeted use of soil amendments. Garden design and layout will provide the greatest range of physical accessibility possible.

  • Children’s Outdoor 
Nature Play Areas


    Play in the natural world creates opportunities for childhood discovery, exploration, and appreciation. Our children’s nature play areas will contain pathways, natural surfacing, loose parts, natural construction, permanent play structures, multipurpose lawns, meadows, landforms/topography, aquatic settings, sand/dirt settings, gathering places, program bases/outdoor storage, signage, and boundaries. These readily accessible spaces will encourage children to exercise their innate curiosity in a multitude of safe natural environments, and enable families to spend time together noticing, learning, and being active in the outdoors. The areas will also serve as demonstration sites for teachers seeking to transform their own schoolyards.

  • Equipment, Furnishings and Technology


    We will equip, furnish, and provide the necessary technology to complete our state-of-the-art multimedia teaching and learning spaces and building monitoring systems. For example, there will be an online building management system (BMS) so we can keep
an eye on and adjust all lighting, HVAC, water, and energy systems to ensure optimal operation to meet our sustainability goals. The Center’s digital dashboard will also provide real-time performance data on energy production and use by type, water collection, storage, and use; weather conditions; and other information so that visitors may learn how the Hitchcock Center is meeting the Living Building ChallengeTM. Additional furniture and equipment will fully “fit out” our Visitor Center, community meeting room, classrooms, and offices.

  • Construction, Legal and Financing


    To finish what we started, we seek funding formal construction, legal, and financing costs associated with our building. Among the expenses are those related to negotiating our 95-year ground lease, constructing our net zero building systems, and remediating contaminated soils.

With your support, you help empower the Hitchcock Center with the resources and tools it needs to leave our children and our children’s children a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world. Click here to learn more about our educational plans to strengthen and expand our delivery of high quality, effective environment education programs.


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Hitchcock Center for the Environment