DANA Adobe & Cultural Center to tap into nature and history at upcoming NatureFest event

Now standing for almost 200 years, the DANA Adobe & Cultural Center in Nipomo plans to host an opportunity for families to learn more about local history and the wonders of nature.

The DANA Adobe’s annual NatureFest event is taking place Saturday, April 15, and nonprofit Executive Director Lexi Carreño said that one of its goals is to help connect community members with Nipomo’s culture and environment.

“Just talking about the [recent] rain alone, and the Nipomo creek, you can see that demonstration here. We actually have guided hikes during the day, and so hopefully you’ll be able to go over there and see the effects of the rain that comes through,” Carreño said.

Held annually since 2016, except when COVID-19 put the event on hiatus, NatureFest offers a variety of hands-on activities designed to help kids learn in action. Carreño noted that when a child is hands-on with a subject, they’re able to care for and think more about it.

click to enlarge DANA Adobe & Cultural Center to tap into nature and history at upcoming NatureFest event
ARTS AND CRAFTS : Face painting is one of the many activities that will be offered as part of 2023 NatureFest at the DANA Adobe & Cultural Center in Nipomo.

Some of the activities or booths on display during the all-day event include: an owl pellet dissection, a leaf rubbing station, nature walks, exploring the Chumash gardens, face painting, bird feeder making, house tours, planting booths, doll making stations, and a solar oven station to cook s’mores or cookies.

“As we see COVID numbers die down, we’re allowed to do more in schools, and see those schools come back. We’re definitely fortunate to see all those little faces this springtime,” Carreño said. “Because that’s definitely important, being able to teach those kids.”

Other NatureFest attractions include live music by the Decomposing Brass Quintet, food vendors from many different small businesses and nonprofits (DANA Adobe is accepting food vendor applications until April 1), and presentations from Pacific Wildlife Care.

The adobe’s rich history will also be part of the event. The Dana adobe ranch land grant was originally awarded to Captain William G. Dana in 1837, and he built the adobe as a house for his family.

“The adobe they lived in is still standing today, and we’ve restored it to circa 1850—really the height of when the family would’ve been here,” Carreño said.

The Dana Adobe Nipomo Amigos nonprofit acquired the 130 acres that the Dana Adobe stands on in 1999. Today, it’s home to many learning-based events, including the 2023 NatureFest.

NatureFest attendees pay at the gate, with prices of $10 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6 to 17, and free for kid ages five and under. For more information on what to expect, visit the official DANA Adobe NatureFest website at danaadobe.org.

“Anyone and everyone is welcome to come on through and learn a little bit about where the town of Nipomo started,” Carreño said.


• Although Los Flores Ranch Park near Santa Maria will be partially closed in April due to storm repairs, the city is holding two community events there on April 1. Participate in a family hike and yoga session from 10 a.m. to noon: “Participants will be surrounded by the beauty of Los Flores Ranch during a short hike with many yoga breaks to help relieve stress,” a press release read. Then, from 1:30 to 3 p.m., the city will kick off its B.A.R.K. Ranger Program. “Join other dog owners and walkers as they learn the rules of B.A.R.K. [Bag your pet’s waste. Always leash your pet. Respect wildlife. Know where you can go],” the city said in the release. For questions, call (805) 925-0951, Ext. 2263.

• Santa Barbara County nonprofit CommUnify announced that Natalia Alacron is the new director of Family and Youth Services with the organization, according to a March 21 statement.  She’s a licensed marriage and family therapist with more than 10 years of experience in program development, operations, and administration, as well as experience in providing direct services to children, youth, and families with the Family Service Agency and Domestic Violence Solutions. Alacron started with CommUnify in February 2019 as a family self-sufficiency program manager where she led the implementation of the program by providing intensive case management and support services to those seeking to improve their job skills, education, and training with the goal of becoming economically secure.

• The city of Lompoc recently released a draft of its 2023-31 Housing Element. The housing element plans for existing and projected housing needs to accommodate 2,248 new housing units with the city of Lompoc by the year 2031. Visit envisionlompoc.com to read the plan, and the public can provide comments on the draft through April 17.

New Times intern Thomas Rodda wrote this week’s Spotlight. Reach him at [email protected].

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