Shangri La Awarded Top Environmental Honors by TCEQ



Michael Hoke, Director
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
Shangri La Awarded Top Environmental Honors by TCEQ
ORANGE, Texas, March 26, 2012 – As a program of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center strives to enrich the community by offering educational events and opportunities. Shangri La has been awarded the Texas’ highest environmental honor by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Texas Environmental Excellence Award. As one of only nine statewide winners, Shangri La was chosen because of its overall environmental education programming.
“This award speaks highly of the quality of environmentally-conscious events and programs that are offered to visitors of all ages at Shangri La,” say Director Michael Hoke.  “Programs such as the Community Trash-Off, Earth Week and Eco-Fest activities, as well as our programming for students and teacher workshops increase the awareness of environmental issues and promote our mission of mentoring children of all ages to be kind to their world.”
TCEQ officials will meet with Shangri La staff on Wednesday, March 28 from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., announcing Shangri La’s award and filming scenes for a video that will be shown during a banquet on May 2, 2012 in Austin, Texas. All media are invited to the award announcement on March 28 at Shangri La.
Located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange, Texas, Shangri La is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information call 409.670.9113 or visit
SBG Be Kind to Your World 
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About Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
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 as well as carry on the vision of H.J. Lutcher Stark, the man who originally developed the gardens more than 60 years ago.
Amid nature’s pristine ecosystems, the formal gardens at Shangri La reflect a use of more than 300 plant species to paint beautiful landscapes among a series of theme-based garden rooms.  Around every corner a new vista awaits the visitor with exquisite sculptures, a great lawn, serene waterscapes reflecting beautiful colors and a Cypress Gate framing blooming plants and soaring birds. The Nature Center includes Adams Bayou outpost tours to educational outposts, a 15-acre Beaver Pond, a state-of-the-art bird blind, a bat house, and more up-close encounters with nature.
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is the first project in Texas and the 50th project in the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum Certification for LEED®-NC, which verifies that the design and construction of Shangri La reached the highest green building and performance measures. Shangri La was also named by the American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment as one of the top 10 green projects throughout the world.
Shangri La offers a glimpse of how people can live in harmony with nature, as it strives in its mission to Mentor Children of All Ages to Be Kind to Their World.
Other programs of the Stark Foundation include the Stark Museum of Art, The W.H. Stark House and the Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts.