Mountain Park Environmental Center’s mission is to provide environmental education programming in order to create an ecologically literate citizenry that understands, respects, enjoys, and cares for themselves, their families, their community and the natural world.
Our broad vision is that education will play a vital role in creating to a sustainable human presence in our communities (and on our planet) that considers the Natural World in all of its decisions and choices.
A Brief History of MPEC
The vision that led to the creation of Mountain Park Environmental Center (MPEC) is built on a foundation of promoting societal ecological literacy through environmental education. Or, to put it more simply, providing opportunities for people to learn about and connect with Nature. A decade later, this vision continues to be the guiding principle of our organization. Our programs for children and adults have received numerous awards and media coverage and serves several thousand people every year.
The years leading up to the opening of MPEC saw Pueblo Mountain Park, owned by the City of Pueblo, as an under-utilized, but ideal, outdoor classroom. There had even been talk of the City liquidating the park. Through the work of a dedicated group of Pueblo area visionaries, Mountain Park Environmental Association, a 501c3 non-profit organization, was established in 1999 to facilitate the creation of the Center. In close collaboration with the Greenway and Nature Center of Pueblo (GNC), the University of Southern Colorado (USC), and the Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department, MPEC became reality in March 2000, when the Center officially opened our doors.
During our first three years, MPEC operated in a limited partnership with the GNC, including administrative ties with USC. Since March 2003, due to changes at USC and the GNC, MPEC has been operating as an independent 501c3 non-profit corporation.
In July 2008, MPEC took over management of Pueblo Mountain Park from the City of Pueblo’s Parks and Recreation Department. This development greatly expanded the scope of our work in the park.
From March 2000 through October 2008, MPEC was headquartered in Pueblo Mountain Park’s main caretaker building. The building’s 1500 square feet served as an Interpretive Center, a classroom and meeting space, a Nature Gift Shop and offices. In October 2008, after completing Phase 1 of the Horseshoe Lodge Revovation, MPEC has been headquartered in the completed portion of Pueblo Mountain Park’s historic Horseshoe Lodge. This greatly expanded space now allows for an expanded Interpretive Center with hands-on displays on the natural and cultural history of the area, the Nature Shop, three classrooms / meeting spaces, public restrooms, a biomass heating system (and many other “green” building elements).