Nestled within 252 acres in the heart of Orange, Texas, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, a private foundation whose mission is to improve and enrich the quality of life in Southeast Texas and encourage and assist education. The unique ecosystem of Shangri La presents an ideal opportunity to further that mission.
The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that operates exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The Foundation carries on its legacy with the programs of Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, The W.H. Stark House, the Stark Museum of Art, the Lutcher Theater, and the Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation, as well as through support of charitable program and organizations in and around Southeast Texas that focus on education, health care, social needs, community enhancement, and arts and culture.
Shangri La is the first project in Texas and the 50th project in the world to ear the U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum certification for LEED-NC, which verifies the design and construction of Shangri La reached the highest green building and performance measures.
Shangri La education staff was awarded the TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (Excellence in Educational Programming Award for 2012. The education staff create programs to enhance the relationships between people, nature and the environment encouraging students of all ages to look, listen and learn about nature, the environment and what it takes “to be kind to your world”.
In 2009, Shangri La began a partnership with the Stark Museum of Art to offer summer camps each year for children that combine art with science and nature. In 2011, these summer camps won the Excellence in Programming Award from the Mountain-Plains Museums Association, a regional division of American Association of Museums.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) selected Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center as one of the worlds’ top 10 projects in 2009 exhibiting sustainable architecture and green design solutions.