HB Wetlands Conservancy unveils new Educational Center, donated by AES, Kiewit

The executive director for the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy John Villa expressed gratitude to AES and Kiewit as he cut the ribbon on the conservancy’s new educational center. This facility will allow students to work indoors as they complete their studies.
The conservancy worked with 67 students this year from Edison High School, including 32 sustainability students, granting them experiential knowledge of wetlands conservation. According to Villa, this building expansion adds the necessary facilities to grow the student-engagement program to include more students from Edison High School and branch out to Huntington Beach High School, Dwyer Middle School, and Isaac L. Sowers Middle School.
“The key to achievements in any kind of environmental progress is education,” Phil Smith said on behalf of Senator Janet Nguyen’s office. “And I love this.”
The ribbon cutting featured representation not only from Nguyen’s office, but also city hall, Assemblyman Matthew Harper’s office, Senator John Moorlach’s office, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office, Vist Huntington Beach, Supervisor Michelle Steel’s office and representatives from the conservancy’s board of directors.
Tim Whitacre, representing Supervisor Steel’s, praised Huntington Beach for remaining mindful of the community and the surrounding wetlands as they undergo renovations to their own facility. AES Huntington Beach Plant Manager Weikko Wirta expressed pride in the company’s participation in supporting the community.
“This latest update facilitated by Kiewit, the AES construction team, and AES Huntington Beach will provide important training space and is just another step in the conservancy’s goal of maintaining important nesting and breeding grounds,” Wirta said.
The Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy is the second largest private land owner in Huntington Beach, second only to The Boeing Company. The conservancy began in 1985 in order to “aquire, restore and protect local coastal wetlands of Huntington Beach.”
Public Information Officer for the state of Huntington Beach expressed excitment over the new expansion, stating the invaluable asset that is hands-on learning in high school students.
Chamber of Commerce board member Ed Mountford presented Villa with an updated Chamber Investor plaque and spoke to the relationship of large and small organizations.”
“This is a great example of how the business community cooperates with non-profits to make good things happen for our community, and that’s certainly the case here with AES and Kiewit,” Mountford said. “Private enterprise coming together to make the situation better for non-profits and the community.”
Villa showed visible pride with the growth of the organization and reminded of himself of the way he changed his introduction.
“Unfortunately, I usually start the conversation out with, ‘We’re the other wetlands,’” he said. “I’m starting to change that now by introducing as ‘I’m the executive director of the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy.”

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