Encinitas Environmental Education Collaborative organizations respond to health crisis in many ways

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Encinitas non-profit and public organizations in the Encinitas Environmental Education (E3) Collaborative are stepping up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an E3 news release. In a Zoom video conference March 30, leaders of the seven organizations in the Quail Gardens/Saxony corridor shared updates on how they are responding to the recent public health crisis.

Despite state mandates that have closed their facilities to visitors to ensure social distancing, these devoted organizations continue to serve their members and the broader community. Here are some examples.

• The Magdalena Ecke YMCA facilities are closed to members, but it is offering online exercise programs, looking to partner with local agencies on blood drives, opening its gym for blood drives, and providing its buses to deliver supplies and care kits to needy families, among other initiatives.

• The San Diego Botanic Garden staff continue to maintain the grounds and plant collections while posting botanic education projects for house-bound families.

• The Encinitas Union School District continues serving families in its district with online instruction, working to make sure children are cared for, loved and learning. In addition, EUSD is providing meals for district families, incorporating fresh vegetables from Farm Lab.

• Coastal Roots Farm has stepped up its ongoing organic produce donations to various social services agencies in addition to continuing its twice-weekly Pay-What-You-Can Farm Stand open Thursday 12-3 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Education and administrative staff have shifted to support farm production and food distribution to fill in for volunteers now staying at home. Around 70% of the customers at the Farm Stand report that the COVID-19 crisis has hurt them economically.

• While the San Dieguito Heritage Ranch is closed for the duration, its volunteers are continuing those activities they can do behind the scenes, such as continued research and planning new exhibits.

• The Leichtag Foundation is supporting community organizations dealing with the financial impacts of the coronavirus with information and bridge loans, as well as increased communications and connectivity. The Hive has moved its programs online and is also offering activities such as a virtual art show and encouraging its nonprofit members to do things away from their devices and screens.

Seacrest Village continues to serve its senior population with great care and dedication. By taking aggressive safety measures quickly, Seacrest is protecting its residents and staff from possible infection. Using closed-circuit technology, residents enjoy recreation, social, and spiritual support in their rooms, while the facility strictly limits contact from outside visitors.

The Encinitas Environment Education (E3) Collaborative consists of Seacrest Village, Encinitas Union School District Farm Lab, the Leichtag Foundation, Coastal Roots Farm, the San Dieguito Heritage Ranch, the San Diego Botanic Garden, and the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA. — News release