Groundwork San Diego’s impact extends horizontally across the Chollas watershed communities and the programmatic areas of climate action, parks and trails, natural resources, and education. Groundwork’s impact also extends vertically, linking the large scale of the watershed, to the neighborhood, to the small scale of the EarthLab, a public space that educates.
At the watershed scale, Groundwork is leading the effort for a City Council designation for the Chollas Creek Regional Park. The park designation will be accompanied by a master plan, and will bring Chollas Creek and the communities it serves long-overdue regional identity, while bringing diverse neighborhoods together through a watershed-wide system of trails and parks and visitor destinations. With support from the City/County State Integrated Regional Water Management Program, the Resources Legacy Foundation, and others, the resources of the watershed will be shared and enjoyed.
At the neighborhood scale, with support from the California Energy Commission to master plan a zero net energy/advanced energy community, Groundwork has designed The Chollas EcoVillage in Encanto. Currently under consideration for a multi-million dollar investment, the build-out of the master plan will bring unprecedented energy/ water efficiencies; local renewable energy generation; healthy home environments; lower energy/water bills for watershed residents; support for school to career green job preparation. The Chollas EcoVillage will create a California-based model for the delivery of energy and co-energy benefits, including public health, economic development, community empowerment, GHG reduction, and water conservation, through the coordination of electric utility cooperation, third party services agreements, government funding and education programs. These ecovillage best practices will be extended to other watershed neighborhoods.
At the EarthLab scale, Groundwork San Diego Chollas Creek, in partnership with the University of California San Diego and San Diego Unified School District, is innovating a new approach to participatory climate action. Supported by such visionary funders as Surdna Foundation and the Parker Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the EarthLab as an exemplary model of public space programmed for community and K-12 environmental education . EarthLab is a 4-acre open-air climate action park devoted to youth and family informal learning through experiential science, environmental literacy, and participatory climate action, all intersecting with advances in energy technology.