Breaking Ground

The San Diego Botanic Garden held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory over the summer. Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, Encinitas Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Timothy Baird, Leichtag Foundation President and CEO Jim Farley, San Diego Botanic Garden President and CEO Julian Duval, Rebecca Dickinson, and Gary Welch were among those in attendance.

The conservatory was designed with three distinct purposes in mind to further the garden’s mission: to grow education by sharing knowledge and experiences of the natural world, to grow engagement by serving as a community meeting space where people of all ages can connect with nature, and to grow conservation by fostering stewardship and respect for the environment.

Once completed, the 7,400 sq. ft. facility located in the Hamilton Children’s Garden will consist of a multi-purpose main hall, featuring tropical plant “chandeliers” and state-of-the-art audio and video equipment, a demonstration and catering kitchen to accomodate caterers and host cooking classes and other events, and an outdoor amphitheater with seating for 265 guests, a stage, and outdoor lighting.

The San Diego Botanic Garden belongs to the Encinitas Environmental Education (E3) Cluster along with the Encinitas Union School District, Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA, San Dieguito Heritage Museum, Seacrest Village Retirement Communities, and The Leichtag Foundation. The goal of this unique union is to develop educational, experiential learning and multigenerational programs centered around agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, science, sustainability, community building, local history, and agricultural traditions. Learn more at