5 Reasons Outdoor Education Rules!

i Apr 23rd l No Comments 3 by Erin Gardner

Coreopsis Hill-081 

Here at the Dunes Center, we love getting students outdoors – it provides them an opportunity to see firsthand all the ideas they are learning about in the classroom.

Students on field trips to Oso Flaco Lake experience spectacular habitats that make the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Complex one of the Central Coast’s beautiful treasures. Here are five reasons why we think it’s so important to learn outside:


Dunes in Flight: Green Heron

i Oct 29th l No Comments 3 by Dunes Center


While on our field trip to Oso Flaco Lake last week, some students noticed a funny looking bird in the reeds. “Why is that bird standing like that?”, they asked of the green-feathered bird that appeared to be crouching over the water. I explained that it was a Green Heron (Butorides virescens), and that it was probably on the lookout for some food.


Junior Archaeologists in San Luis Obispo

i Oct 5th l Comments Off 3 by Dunes Center


October is Archaeology Month here in California, and to kick it off the Dunes Center teamed up with San Luis Obispo County Archaeological Society (SLOCAS) to host the second annual Archaeology Day.

Over 380 community members joined us for some good old-fashioned dig-in-the-dirt fun and learned about the science of archaeology while earning their Junior Archaeologist badge.

The passport-style activities had participants visiting stations that focused on different steps of the archaeological process from surveying to excavation to artifact analyzation. Once they completed each station and filled up their booklet, they had become certified Junior Archaeologists!

The Dunes Center hosted a booth near the entrance to the event where we were able to showcase the many programs we have to offer. Our artifacts from Cecil B. DeMille’s 10 Commandments movie set along with our sand art station were a huge hit with passersby. This wonderful event gave the Dunes Center a perfect avenue to show the public all the ways that we work with the community and bring awareness to our exciting new exhibits showcased in the museum.

Overall, Archaeology Day was a huge success; fun was had by all and both kids and adults alike learned about what archaeology has to offer. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate the science of deciphering the past, and to those who didn’t – we’ll see you next year!

Dunes in Bloom: Hemlock

i May 28th l No Comments 3 by Dunes Center



Common Name(s): Poison hemlock

Scientific Name: Conium maculatum

Family: Apiaceae 

Plant Type: Herb

Communities: Wetland-Riparian

Size: 5-8 ft tall

Mary Buren Fourth Graders Visit the Dunes Center

i May 16th l No Comments 3 by Dunes Center

Last month, the Dunes Center had the pleasure of hosting all of Mary Buren Elementary’s 4th grade students.  They completed a scavenger hunt while exploring the Dunes Center’s exhibits that were unveiled last year.  Mary Buren 4th graders visit the Dunes Center every school year, and we always look forward to it!







Dunes in Flight: Great Blue Heron

i May 11th l No Comments 3 by Dunes Center


The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) has been spotted recently by visitors to Oso Flaco Lake.  Easily identifiable by its color and shape, this heron’s range is extensive across North America. They are blue-gray with a wide black stripe over the eye. When flying, they are distinctive from their slow wingbeats, tucked-in neck, and trailing legs.  Their wingspan is about 6 feet, and despite being up to 4 feet tall, they are a relatively lightweight bird at around 5 pounds.