The Ecology Center Scores Gold with IDEA Award for Water Conservation Exhibit

Splash! Exhibit at The Ecology Center Encourages Water Conservation Through Innovative Design
Jul 12, 2011 12:30 PM ET
Press Release

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) San Juan Capistrano - July 12, 2011 - Known for its innovative approach to environmental education, The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano collaborated with the design firm Zago to create the Splash! How Good Water Works water conservation exhibit located at the Center through August 2011.  The Splash! exhibit has now received a Gold Award in the category of Environments for the 2011 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), showing how good design can do more than look good; it can drive positive changes in the world.

The Splash! exhibit originated when Evan Marks, the director of The Ecology Center, saw a provocative exhibit on climate change at the United Nations that ZAGO had created in New York. The exhibit featured bean bags representing the greenhouse gas emissions of different countries, challenging visitors to get involved in solutions for climate change. 

The Zago climate change exhibit at the UN represented for Marks the power of good design to drive positive social change. “It was amazing,” said Marks. After talking, Marks and the Zago team developed a plan to work together informing people about solutions for another important problem. “A year and a half later, we said we should do something on water.”
To make the water exhibit a reality they teamed up with surf brand Hurley and their recently launched H20 initiative as the beginning of a partnership to inspire water literacy and access.
Throughout 2009 Zago and The Ecology Center collaborated closely on the development of the Splash! exhibit, finding captivating ways to show visitors the large impact of everyday choices on water conservation. There were many challenges along the way, with different priorities challenging all involved at the center and their community, but in the end the resulting exhibit encourages visitors to rethink how they live.
Open on weekends for visits, the Splash! exhibit features a self guided walk through the solutions we can use to slash our water use. As you walk through the exhibit you find that the typical Southern Californian uses 1800 gallons of water a day, often in surprising ways. Electronics that we buy require enormous quantities of water to produce, and eating less meat can save 2000 gallons of water a week as well as saving money and boosting our health. 
"We rarely have the opportunity to work on projects that have both a local focus and a global reach,” said Manuel Toscano, principal at Zago. “With the exhibition 'Splash! how good water works' under the creative and content partnership we forged with Evan Marks and his organization The Ecology Center, we successfully created an exhibition that covers the challenges and opportunities associated with water quality and conservation in the Orange County, while still putting these challenges in a global context. We are very proud and exited to have been recognized by the IDSA with a gold award for one of our favorite and most enjoyable projects of 2010."
The unique design of the Splash exhibit that earned it the Gold IDEA award helps its message to connect with people. Although water is a pressing challenge around the globe, the exhibit and everything else at The Ecology Center are optimistic. Rather than lecturing, the exhibit draws us in, welcoming us as guests into the 1878 farmhouse that has become a center of 21st century environmental solutions. 
The IDEA award ceremony for the Splash! exhibit will take place at the 2011 IDSA International Conference September 14 to 17 in New Orleans. 
About The EcologyCenter
The Ecology Center is an exciting new educational center, whose purpose is to engage the entire family in fun, hands-on activities that teach practical, environmental solutions at the household and community level. The Ecology Center is located at 32701 Alipaz St. in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. For more information, please visit or (949) 443-4223.
About Zago
Zago is founded on the belief that simplicity and honesty are the essential ingredients for sustainable and meaningful branding. Zago's work takes different forms in many different mediums, serving non-profit, a&d, cultural, and corporate clients worldwide. We collaborate closely with our clients to produce dynamic and thoughtful results across media and industry boundaries. The agency has studios in New York City and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   Visit the website at for more about Zago.
About Hurley
Founded in 1999, Hurley is an authentic “Microphone for Youth” brand rooted in surf, skate, art, music and beach cultures. Driven by creativity and freedom of expression, Hurley develops world-class products for guys, girls and kids, including sportswear, footwear, eyewear, accessories, loungewear, swimwear and wetsuits. A wholly owned, independently run subsidiary of Nike, Inc., Hurley’s corporate headquarters are located in Costa Mesa, CA, with international offices in Tokyo, Sydney, Barcelona and Bali. See for more.


Evan Marks
The Ecology Center
Glenn Croston
Starting Up Green