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Life & Work with Lori Torio

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Torio.

Hi Lori, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
The mission of the Living Coast Discovery Center is to inspire the community to connect with and care for our coastal environment.

Since 1987, the Living Coast has provided a living interpretive experience while promoting coastal resource conservation and environmental stewardship through education. Our vision is a thriving natural coast through engaged conservation.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As a 501(c)(3) organization, funding is always a challenge, however, the Living Coast Discovery Center is fortunate to have support of the local community. Additionally, the Living Coast actively seeks grant funds from foundations, corporations, and government entities as appropriate to support its mission.

One of the major challenges faced by the Living Coast Discovery Center is awareness. Its location in the south bay San Diego community of Chula Vista presents a preconceived notion of being too far for many local residents. Though, in actuality, the Living Coast is only 8 minutes from downtown San Diego.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
The Living Coast is an educational zoo and aquarium that highlights local animals from the San Diego region and provides a unique opportunity for guests to explore nature trails, learn about coastal resource conservation, and experience native wildlife up-close.

Through partnerships with the City of Chula Vista and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Living Coast conducts nature-based educational programs and collaborative research within the 316-acre Sweetwater Marsh Unit of the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Annually, the Living Coast welcomes close to 80,000 visitors including over 29,000 K-12 students who experience our education programs.

At the core of our mission is environmental education that nurtures a deep wonder for the native animals and natural environment of our region. We provide interactive, standard-based programming focused on native wildlife and conservation of the local environment for students from underserved communities. Students discover the natural world as they get up close with our animal ambassadors and explore environmental topics through scientific experiments, nature hikes, and habitat restoration projects.

What does success mean to you?
We can define success in many ways – through kids that experienced a field trip when they were in grade school, who were inspired by the wildlife and nature exploration, who then became a marine biologist or studies environmental science.

Success through increased attendance by visitors – local and tourist – to the Living Coast.

Success through an increase in student knowledge after attending a field trip measured by pre- and post-tests.


  • $16/adult admission
  • $11/children
  • Children under 2 Free

Contact Info:

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