Thank you to all the donors and businesses who helped us reach our capital goal, and raise over $525,000 to build the Learning Center. The Learning Center will ensure WMG's experiential education programs can be expanded to accommodate regular school groups, family activities, professional collaborations, and the unique needs of today's in-person and virtual classes.
The final major buildout of the Living Lab and Learning Center is currently underway, with the addition of the Learning Center, a multi-purpose space that supports our growing in-person and virtual workshops, classes, and community events. The Learning Center will be a space to learn about and experience sustainable solutions, including water harvesting, solar power, green building, and zero waste, while creating an inclusive space that welcomes our diverse community.
Follow the progress of the construction of the Learning Center in this Youtube playlist: Learning Center Green Building Project.
A special thank you to our business sponsors, including Net Zero Solar, Tucson Electric Power, Pioneer Tanks, and AZ Lottery. Join us on Friday, September 22nd, from 6-10pm for our 20th Anniversary Party and grand opening of the Learning Center!
Learning Center Renderings
Since inheriting the Dodge Blvd. property in 2012, Watershed Management Group staff, donors, and volunteers have invested in creating the Living Lab as a community hub and leading demonstration site of watershed resilience. The Living Lab features water harvesting, native habitat, food forests, passive solar energy, and zero waste systems… culminating in a campus primarily sustained by rainwater, even for drinking!
Thousands of people visit WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center annually, participating in tours, workshops, family programs, green job trainings, and social
events. However, the demand for our services has outpaced our resources and infrastructure, and many of our programs require a large, multi-purpose space. With increasing water shortages and climate impacts in the Southwest, it’s more important than ever to have adequate space to teach about hydro-local water solutions. The Learning Center needs your financial support so we can scale up our impact and accommodate regular school groups, family activities, collaborations, and the unique needs of today’s in-person and virtual classes.
We are so grateful to our generous business sponsors! The Arizona Lottery Gives Back Sponsorship contributed $50,000 towards our construction and tank installation costs. Tucson Electric Power committed a $25,000 matching gift. Net Zero Solar is generously donating solar panels and installation for the Learning Center and Pioneer Water Tanks is donating a 5,000-gallon steel tank!
Timeline of completed projects
- Property gifted from the estate of Marguerite Fisher, March 2012, neighboring property purchased with lead donation, March 2013
- Landscape transformed with earthworks, shade trees, and habitat plants, November 2013
- Special Exception Zoning Status achieved, December 2013
- 10,000-gallon underground cistern constructed with Tucson Water grant, March 2014
- Sonoran Food Forest with greywater installed by youth job training program, March 2014
- Development plan approved by City of Tucson, Sept 2014
- Central plaza installed - our largest outdoor classroom, October 2014
- Water Harvesting Certification and monthly water harvesting classes offered at Living Lab, Fall 2014
- Children’s water conservation playhouse constructed, November 2014
- Historic adobe building rehabilitated, November 2014
- Monthly Living Lab tours started, July 2015
- Launched Living Lab Docent & UA Internship program, September 2015
- Rainwater filtration system installed to make rainwater our main supply for indoor and outdoor water needs, October 2015
- Weather station installed and comprehensive monitoring program developed with the assistance of UA interns and WMG Docents to monitor water, energy, and plant growth, Spring 2016
- Welcome Center and handicap accessible composting toilet completed, 2018
- Permeable parking lot constructed, 2018