In 2001, when Honda opened the first-ever ELC in Colton, California, even its most enthusiastic supporters could not have predicted its success. Situated on a 2-acre addition adjacent to Colton's rider education center, the ELC consists of 1/3 mile of trail and five distinct ecosystems. Given its urban setting at the eastern edge of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the ELC immediately became a destination for beginning and intermediate trail riders, including many families, wanting to improve their skills.
The Colton ELC attracted numerous youth groups and more than 140 elementary school children last year, many of whom have never seen life outside an urban area. For some kids, their visit to the ELC was the first time they had ever seen a trail sign. The youth groups were provided with workbooks, created by Summer Keller, a graduate from the University of California at San Diego with a degree in Biological Anthropology. The workbooks serve as learning modules that educate the public about the geography, terrain and native plants and animals in their area. Color photos and description provide a ready reference so that those visiting the center can identify the native flora and fauna. The workbook is a valuable tool for promoting environmental awareness. People are much more likely to have respect for nature if they understand how plants and animals are an integral part of the environment.