By Rebekah Jacobson
Located just outside of Park City on 1,200 acres of open land, the Swaner EcoCenter sits on a nature preserve serving to promote and advance environmental stewardship.
Founded in 1993, the center’s mission for over ten years has been “to preserve… the human connection to the natural landscape.” Because the non-profit passionately promotes environmental and ecological preservation, their year-round curriculum includes outreach programs, research and volunteer efforts, youth programs, lectures, and hands-on activities, courses and events.
Aptly named “A Gateway to the Natural World,” the Swaner EcoCenter encourages people to engage with their natural surroundings by inspiring and reawakening an appreciation for nature. Events on the reserve such as wildlife sightings, trails, and exhibits offer fascinating information and activities for groups. Geocaching, private tours, and nature walks can also be arranged. And a tour of the Demonstration Garden enlightens with information on how to construct a natural landscape or native Utah ecosystem.
In addition to environmental awareness, the EcoCenter also promotes programs such as Meet the Producers, an annual event hosted at the center, which allows the public to meet local food makers and support businesses such as CSAs, farmers and producers. Other events at the center include professors and guest speakers via the Utah State University outreach program, where experts discuss enlightening topics such as water conservation, light pollution, and air quality amongst others.
Advocacy for sustainable and renewable resources also lies at the heart of Swaner’s values. LEED certified and sustainably constructed, with 75 percent reclaimed or renewable materials used, the Swaner EcoCenter is one of the greenest buildings in the state, and includes a year-round rooftop that collects up to 90 percent of its water usage. Through maintaining this standard, the EcoCenter sets a precedent for the future construction of buildings and industry operations.
The Swaner EcoCenter stands as a reminder that everything that encompasses the natural world is the very life force that sustains us—the prana that replenishes, revives and renews. Without nature we often forget our connection to the beauty of the landscapes, open sky, and nighttime wonders. Nature returns us to that place of true solace and celebration, and is amongst our deepest callings.
For more information, to volunteer or donate, visit: swanerecocenter.org 1258 Center Drive | 435-649-1767