Expansion Plans

In April 2011, the Theodore Payne Foundation received a $930,000 grant from the State of California to build new nature education facilities on our property. The funds were from the Safe Drinking Water Bond Act, Proposition 84, passed by voters in November 2006.

The facilities will include two fully equipped classrooms, a student orientation area, expanded parking, improved restrooms and septic system, expanded ADA access throughout, a fire management demonstration garden and interpretive signage. Groundbreaking is planned for 2014.

The Green Features of our new facilities are listed below.

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TPF Plans

Educational Facilities – Green Building Features

Over-arching Approach

  • Project to demonstrate highest respect for natural environment
  • California Environmental Quality Clearance determination of no significant negative impacts
  • Minimize grading and site disruption through optimizing locations of structures and features
  • Minimize addition of impermeable surfaces to allow for infiltration of rain water on site
  • Reduce storm water run-off through improving grading of parking areas
  • Re-use materials where possible (native decomposed granite and rocks, landscape timbers and tree trunks)

New Classrooms, Restrooms & Existing Headquarters

  • Maintain existing structure with addition of improved access for all visitors
  • Construct two new classrooms compatible in character with existing headquarters
  • Fire-resistant siding made from composite recycled material
  • Passive heating and cooling of classrooms, with generous windows for cross-ventilation augmented with ceiling fans
  • High ceilings in classrooms to allow warm air to rise and be vented
  • Concrete floors in classrooms to provide thermal mass to mitigate diurnal temperature swing, storing and slowly releasing heat
  • Rain barrels to collect runoff from classroom roofs for use in landscape irrigation
  • Rain gardens to receive, detain and infiltrate storm water to mitigate impervious roofs and pavement reducing run-off
  • Low water use toilets, dual-flush or other
  • High efficiency LED lighting in new or remodeled areas
  • Low e windows in new or remodeled areas
  • Water conserving push button faucets
  • Low volatile emissions paint
  • Wiring provided for future PV Solar panels


  • 100% California native plants
  • Rain gardens to collect rain water for riparian species
  • Smart controllers and drip irrigation
  • Re-use branches and trunks of trees removed for landscaping and seating
  • Minimum 2 to 1 replacement of trees removed
  • Plants selected for habitat, educational, demonstration and propagation value
  • All planting areas mulched for water conservation
  • Fire Management Demonstration Garden

Parking and Paved Surfaces

  • Capacity for electric vehicle charging station
  • Decomposed granite surface for general parking areas (concrete required for ADA spaces)
  • Use of existing on-site decomposed granite
  • Semi-permeable pavers for rain water infiltration