Wetlands Park

Nature Preserve Trails

The Wetlands Park Nature Preserve is a 210-acre section of the park that is home to hundreds of species of animals. The Preserve includes ponds, three miles of paved ADA accessible trails, restrooms, and a network of connecting unpaved trails and shady lanes that provide hours of nature exploration. Nature Preserve trails are accessed from the main parking lot by the Nature Preserve and Neighborhood Park. Click here for the map of Nature Preserve trails.

The Nature Preserve is intended to be a safe place for wildlife. Dogs and bikes are not allowed on the trails in the Nature Preserve as their presence can be disruptive to wildlife. Leashed dogs are permitted on the Duck Creek Trails and Wetlands Loop Trail as well as at other Park Trailheads. Bikes are allowed on the Wetlands Loop Trail.

Wetlands Loop Trail

The 14-mile Wetlands Loop Trail is a multi-use trail shared by hikers, joggers, cyclists, and dog-walkers alike. The trail is not approved for equestrian or motor vehicle use. It serves as a perimeter trail in the park and loops around both the north and south sides of the Las Vegas Wash.

Wetlands Loop North is fully paved and begins at Neighborhood Park in near Tropicana Avenue, crosses the Big Weir Bridge over the Las Vegas Wash and continues seven miles east to the Powerline Crossing Bridge near Lake Las Vegas.

From the Powerline Crossing Bridge, the Wetlands Loop South trail meets up with Wells, Pabco, and Duck Creek Trailheads and ends at Wetlands Park Lane near the Nature Center. The final 2.5 miles of the Wetlands Loop South trail is unpaved and may not be appropriate for some road bikes. Terrazza Park (Henderson Parks & Recreation) is also adjacent to the Wetlands Loop Trail and also serves as access to the trail.

The Wetlands Loop connects with other Valley trails, including the 34-mile River Mountains Loop Trail near Powerline Crossing Bridge and Lake Las Vegas, as well as the Flamingo-Arroyo Trail near Sunrise Trailhead and Duck Creek Trail near the Duck Creek Trailhead.

Duck Creek Trails

Three trails radiate from the Duck Creek Trailhead. Quail Run, Duck Creek, and Coyote Howl Trails are short paved trails through tall shrubs, grass, and trees. Look for animal tracks along the trail. All three trails end at Dragonfly Divide, an unpaved portion of the Wetlands Loop Trail. Dragonfly Divide ends near the Nature Preserve.

Special Use Trails

Bicycle Trails

Bicycles are permitted only on the Wetlands Loop Trail. This is a fourteen mile loop trail that is paved for approximately 9.5 miles. The final 2.5 miles is unpaved and may not be appropriate for road bikes. Access to this trail can be found at Neighborhood Park, as well as the Duck Creek, Pabco, Wells, and Sunrise Trailheads. Click here to download the Bike Trails Map.

Dog-Friendly Trails

Leashed pets are permitted at all of the Park Trailheads, Duck Creek Trails, and the Wetlands Loop Trail. Dogs are not allowed in the Nature Preserve. This is to protect the habitat for wildlife and to as ensure safety of pets as well.

Equestrian Trails

Horses are allowed on unpaved trails north of the Las Vegas Wash. These trails are accessed at Sunrise Trailhead (currently closed—parking is permitted along E. Hollywood Blvd). Pabco Trailhead also features horse trailer parking and access to the unpaved portions and side trails along the Wetlands Loop South trail. Horses are not allowed in the Nature Preserve or bridges in the Park.


Duck Creek Trailhead

Duck Creek Trails are short and sweet. These accessible trails wind through tall shrubs, grass, and small trees.  Look for fun animal tracks stamped into the concrete.

  • Leashed dogs are allowed on trails, but please help protect wildlife by not allowing dogs near ponds
  • Shaded picnic tables (no fires or grills allowed)
  • Restrooms
  • Dog bag stations
  • Human and canine water fountain
  • Paved parking lot (no bus or trailer parking)

Wetlands Neighborhood Park

  • This place is for the child in all of us!
  • Climbable art in the form of Wetlands Park wildlife
  • Climbing wall
  • Look for fun animal outlines and tracks stamped into the concrete.
  • Turf
  • Access to Nature Preserve Trails
  • Picnic table (no fires or grills allowed)
  • Located on Hollywood Circle north of Wetlands Park Lane

Sunrise Trailhead

  • Access to the Flamingo Arroyo bicycle trail
  • Amazing views of the Las Vegas Valley
  • Access to the paved 6.5 mile segment of the Wetlands Park loop trail along the north side of the Las Vegas Wash to Lake Las Vegas
  • Access to a network of paved trails looping through beautiful desert scrub habitat
  • No water
  • 20 acre complex
  • Parking for automobiles, horse trailers, and buses (Parking lot closed)
  • Waterless restroom (Closed due to damage)
  • Shaded picnic tables (no fires or grills allowed)
  • Open dawn to dusk
  • Located on South Hollywood Blvd. 2.5 miles South of East Vegas Valley Dr.

Pabco Trailhead

  • Views of Las Vegas Wash and Pabco Weir
  • Beautiful mature trees and thick riparian habitat
  • Shaded amphitheater
  • Shaded picnic tables (no fires or grills allowed)
  • Waterless restroom
  • Parking for automobiles, horse trailers, and buses
  • Equestrian staging area; hitch racks
  • Connection to Wetlands Park loop trail along the south side of the Las Vegas Wash (unpaved)
  • Open dawn to dusk
  • Trailhead entrance at the intersection of Russell Road and Weston Ridge Street link 

Bostick Interpretive Area

  • Views of the Las Vegas Wash and rapids over the Bostick Weir
  • Interpretive panels and demonstration of habitat restoration
  • Open dawn to dusk
  • Planned connection to Wetlands Park Loop Trail
  • Shade structures
  • Access is currently impeded by construction of erosion-control structures

Wells Trailhead

  • Short walk through desert scrub habitat leads you to a hilltop viewing area with benches, providing enjoyable vistas of the Las Vegas Wash
  • Waterless restrooms
  • Open dawn to dusk
  • Connection to Wetlands Park loop trail along the south side of the Las Vegas Wash (unpaved)
  • Shaded picnic tables (no fires or grills allowed)
  • Located one mile west of Powerline Crossing on Galleria Drive.

Powerline Crossing

  • Views of the Las Vegas Wash
  • Access to Lake Las Vegas
  • Connections to the Wetlands Park Loop Trail, Galleria Drive towards Wells Trailhead, and the River Mountain Loop Trail connector.
  • Located near City of Henderson’s Terrazza Park 0.2 miles from Lake Las Vegas.

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12 Cities Near Phoenix to Buy or Rent in this Year

The city of Phoenix is renowned for its stunning desert landscapes, excellent hiking, and luxurious hotel resorts. With a population of 1.7 million, it is also the largest city in Arizona and the fifth largest in the United States.

Even with all that Phoenix offers, the city’s cost of living, traffic, and hustle and bustle may have you considering alternative areas to live in. So if you’re not sold on the idea of living in the center of The Valley, we’re here to help. Here are 12 cities near Phoenix that may interest you instead. 

piestewa peak in phoenix arizona

#1: Glendale, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 10
Population: 250,500
Median home sale price: $440,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,374 
Walk Score: 40
Bike Score: 34
Transit Score: 57

Glendale is the sixth-largest city in the state and is home to several professional sports teams, including the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. Glendale is also home to the University of Phoenix Stadium, which hosts several major sporting events, including the upcoming 2023 Super Bowl.

There’s no shortage of things to do while living in Glendale. From exploring museums and parks to dining at delicious restaurants, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. The Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Westgate Entertainment District, and Saguaro Ranch Park are just a few of the many attractions the city offers. 

Homes for sale in Glendale, AZ
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#2: Tempe, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 11
Population: 192,000
Median home sale price: $500,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,527 
Walk Score: 54
Bike Score: 45
Transit Score: 75

Tempe is home to Arizona State University and is adjacent to the city of Phoenix. The city is known for its warm weather, diverse population, and lively downtown scene.

If you decide to move to Tempe, there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. You can check out the ASU campus and Mill Ave, go shopping at Tempe Marketplace, spend the afternoon jogging or biking around Tempe Town Lake, or take a walk through Papago Park. There’s something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming city. 

Homes for sale in Tempe, AZ
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night shot of a bridge in tempe arizona a city near phoenix

#3: Scottsdale, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 13
Population: 255,000
Median home sale price: $810,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $2,044 
Walk Score: 32
Bike Score: 23
Transit Score: 56

Scottsdale is a beautiful city located in the Sonoran Desert at the foot of the McDowell Mountains, and it is home to many celebrities, retirees, and snowbirds (people who winter in Arizona). The cost of living in Scottsdale is high, but the city offers many amenities and activities, including luxury resorts and spas, golf courses, and vibrant nightlife. 

Homes for sale in Scottsdale, AZ
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#4: Peoria, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 14
Population: 172,000
Median home sale price: $512,500 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,520 
Walk Score: 30
Bike Score: 19
Transit Score: 47

Peoria is a great city to call home. The cost of living is relatively affordable, and the city has a wide variety of different housing options available. Plus, the area is known for being home to spring training baseball facilities for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres – so you can easily spend the afternoon enjoying a spring training game. 

Peoria is also home to several museums, including the Peoria Central School Museum, the West Valley Art Museum, and the Peoria Arizona Historical Society, which are all popular tourist destinations. Other attractions in Peoria include the Arizona Broadway Theatre and the Theater Works, as well as several parks and green spaces, such as the Rio Vista Community Park and the Pioneer Community Park. There’s something for everyone living in Peoria

Homes for sale in Peoria, AZ
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peoria sports complex baseball field on sunny clear day

#5: Avondale, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 18
Population: 86,000
Median home sale price: $430,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,547 
Walk Score: 26
Transit Score: 52

The 1990s brought massive growth to Avondale, AZ, transforming it from farmland into a great place to live. With its location on the banks of the lovely Agua Fria River (which means “Cold Water River” in Spanish), Avondale is a town with something for everyone. Once known as Coldwater, Avondale is a place where you can enjoy the great outdoors, appreciate the arts, and more. 

From dining and parks to local history and arts, there’s much to love about this city. Car racing enthusiasts can take advantage of the Phoenix International Raceway, while outdoor enthusiasts can go mountain biking or hike in The Estrella Mountains. If you’re considering moving to Avondale, you won’t regret it. 

Homes for sale in Avondale, AZ
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#6: Mesa, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 19
Population: 509,000
Median home sale price: $460,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,375 
Walk Score: 38
Bike Score: 27

Transit Score: 60

Known for its famous for its canals and stunning views of the Superstition Mountains, Mesa is one of the largest cities in Arizona. Even though the city is large, it offers its residents a quiet, suburban lifestyle. With an affordable cost of living as well as top-rated schools and amazing outdoor recreation – it’s no wonder so many people call this city home.

There’s also a lot to do in the Mesa area. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to take advantage of. For those who enjoy the arts, Mesa is home to the Mesa Arts Center, which hosts a variety of performances and exhibitions. 

Homes for sale in Mesa, AZ
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Phoenix pool

#7: Chandler, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 22
Population: 257,000
Median home sale price: $535,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,657 
Walk Score: 35
Bike Score: 24
Transit Score: 55

Chandler is one of the fastest growing suburbs of the Phoenix area and has countless amenities to offer, everything from affordable housing and great schools to delicious and diverse dining and entertainment options.

Downtown Chandler’s historic district is a great place to stroll, shop, and eat. The district has modern cafes and eateries, as well as the Center for the Arts and iconic shops like Saba’s Western Wear. The district also hosts annual events, from farmers’ markets to yoga in the park. In addition to spending time in the downtown historic center, residents can visit the Arizona Railway Museum, play at the Mesquite Groves Aquatic Center, and spend a family-friendly day climbing throughout the tropical-themed play center at Makutu’s Island. Chandler is also home to an annual Ostrich Festival – which is extremely popular among locals and visitors.

Homes for sale in Chandler, AZ
Apartments for rent in Chandler, AZ

#8: Gilbert, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 22
Population: 248,500
Median home sale price: $587,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,641 
Walk Score: 29
Bike Score: 15
Transit Score: 53

Gilbert is known for its wide open spaces and rural feel, despite being adjacent to the large metropolitan area of Phoenix. The town has several key landmarks and attractions, including the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, the Gilbert Historical Museum, the Hale Centre Theatre, and the Gilbert Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

There are many great ways to spend your time if you’re living in Gilbert. You can enjoy local art at Hale Centre Theatre and Higley Center for the Performing Arts. Or you can spend time at a park, like Freestone Park, Cosmo Dog Park, or Islands Community Park. You’ll find plenty of restaurants and charming cafes throughout the city, like Salerno’s Restaurant & Pizzeria, Farm House Restaurant, and Great Wall Chinese Restaurant.

Homes for sale in Gilbert, AZ
Apartments for rent in Gilbert, AZ

#9: Surprise, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 29
Population: 139,000
Median home sale price: $460,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,625 
Walk Score: 21
Transit Score: 46

Surprise began its life as a collection of homes and a single gas station in 1938. Today Surprise is known for hosting one of the largest retirement communities in the southwestern United States. 

A fun fact about the city’s original owner and founder, Flora Mae Statler, famously said she “would be surprised if the town ever amounted to anything.” We can assume she would be proud to see how the city has grown. Some of the best things to do in Surprise range from visiting local parks, dining at some of the best restaurants in town, and enjoying local art. 

Homes for sale in Surprise, AZ
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#10: Maricopa, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 35
Population: 50,500
Median home sale price: $415,000 
Walk Score: 13
Transit Score: 38

Situated in the Gila River Valley, Maricopa is the southernmost city of the Phoenix metropolis. The community of Maricopa is one of the oldest and most historic in the state of Arizona. Maricopa is surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges, including the Sierra Estrellas, Palo Verde, Saddleback Mountains, and Haley Hills.

There are many things to do while living in Maricopa. Some of the most popular attractions include the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, the Rawhide Western Town, and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Homes for sale in Maricopa, AZ
Apartments for rent in Maricopa, AZ

desert sunset in arizona

#11: Queen Creek, AZ

Miles from Phoenix: 38
Population: 52,000
Median home sale price: $640,000 
Average 1-bed rent: $1,415 
Walk Score: 17
Transit Score: 44

The city of Queen Creek, located at the foot of the San Tan Mountains, is known for its rich agricultural roots. The city was once a sleepy, little farming community well into the 20th Century. However, today, the population of Queen Creek stands at around 50,000 people.

There are many things for residents to do in the area, including touring the Queen Creek Olive Mill, picking fruits and vegetables at Schnepf Farms, exploring the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center, hiking or biking in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, visiting the Queen Creek Wetlands Park, and stargazing at the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum. There’s something for everyone living in Queen Creek

Homes for sale in Queen Creek, AZ
Apartments for rent in Queen Creek, AZ


Methodology: All cities must have a population of more than 50,000 and be less than 50 miles away from Phoenix. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during August 2022. Average rental data from Rent.com during August 2022. Walk Score, Bike Score, and Transit Score from Walkscore.com during August 2022. Population data sourced from United States Census Bureau.


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Lamacchia Realty gets serious about commitment: No more ‘slackers’

With the housing market in a measurable slowdown, the brokerage feels it necessary to shift strategies. “We want people who are serious about doing well in the real estate business.”

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As the market contracts, one brokerage is setting stricter expectations for its new agents.

Lamacchia Realty, an indie brokerage with offices across New England and South Florida, has updated its Commitment to Success Agreement to better reflect more challenging market conditions, Chief Operating Officer Jackie Louh announced during the brokerage’s August companywide meeting.

The updated agreement is an attempt to deter new agents who take a more relaxed attitude toward the industry, the brokerage CEO Anthony Lamacchia said, an influx of which have taken up real estate since the pandemic.

Anthony Lamacchia | Photo credit: Lamacchia Realty

“In the last two years since Covid a lot of people with the attitude of ‘I want to try real estate’ have come into the business, across the industry across the company,” Broker-Owner Lamacchia said in an interview. “I don’t know if these people were lied to or what, but a lot of them think it’s easy and they think they don’t have to work hard.”

The brokerage’s new commitment to success will be an attempt to outline for newly licensed agents what is expected of them at the agency. Existing agents at the company who have joined within the past two years and have only had a few sales will also be required to sign, the company said in a news release.

“We’re going to people that have joined since 2020, if they have one sale or less we’re going to them too to say ‘hey, you’ve got to agree to this or you’ve got to move on,” Lamacchia said.

He said he expects the agreement will affect his agent count, but that he’s more concerned with attracting high-producing agents and deterring unserious ones.

“We’re not playing games, we want people who are serious about doing well in the real estate business,” he said. “And that’s going to decrease how many new agents we bring in but honestly, that’s on purpose. We only want the cream of the crop.”

The broker-owner said the past few years felt like a slip in standards compared to their previous recruiting practices.

“I look back at how strict we used to be with letting agents in, we used to be very strict and require a lot of things,” he said. “Once we hit Covid and it turned it into a Zoom world it just made it easier for people to join but figure out a way to be slackers — I don’t want slackers.”

Jackie Louh | Photo credit: Lamacchia Realty

With the housing market in a measurable slowdown that has seen sales droop, the brokerage has felt it necessary to shift strategies, Louh said.

“As the market turns the page into a new era, we too as a company are doing the same. We have to tighten our expectations of new agents who are joining us as the easy years of a market upswing are behind us,” Louh said in a statement. “Those that get in now need to be ready to work harder.”

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Which type of Ganesha idol is good for home? Ganpati murti Vastu Shastra explained

If you are aiming to bring immense positivity and luck to your home, there could be nothing better than opting for a Ganpati idol. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is considered a symbol of happiness and joy. He is also known as the protector of households and Ganesha images and idols are often kept near the main door, to protect the occupants from evil energies. However, it is important to place the Ganesha idol at the right place, according to Vastu Shastra.


Ganpati photo: Vastu for Ganesha pictures and idols at home

According to Vastu experts, the west, the north and the north-east direction, are the best places to keep lord Ganesh idols or images at home. Remember, all Ganpati photos should face the north direction, as it is believed that Lord Shiva, who is Ganesha’s father, lives here. You can also keep the Ganesha murti at the main door, facing inside. If you are placing Lord Ganesha images, it should face the main entrance of the home. Do not place the Ganesha idol in the south direction.

Source: Pinterest

Also read all about Pooja room Vastu


Which type of Ganesha idol is good for home ?

Ganesha idol material for home Impact
Silver Ganesha Fame
Brass Ganesha Prosperity and joy
Wood Ganesha Good health and long life
Crystal Ganesha Removes Vastu dosha
Turmeric idol Brings good luck and is auspicious
Copper Ganesha Brings luck for couples planning to start families
Ganesha idol of mango, peepal and neem Energy and good luck
Cow dung Ganesha Attracts good fortune and good vibes and eradicates sorrow

See also: Vastu tips for laughing Buddha statue


Forms of Ganesha

Bala Ganesha (child-like form)
Taruṇa Ganapati (youthful form)
Bhakti Ganesha (devotee form)
Veera Ganapati (valiant Ganpati)
Shakti Ganapati (the powerful form)
Dvija Ganapati (Ganpati who is born twice)
Siddhi Gaṇapati (the accomplished form of Ganesha)
Ucchhishṭa Gaṇapati (lord of blessed offerings)
Vighna Gaṇapati (lord of obstacles)
Kshipra Ganapati (Ganesha who is easy to appease)
Heramba Gaṇapati (mother’s beloved son)
Lakshmi Gaṇapati (the Fortunate one, similar to Goddess Lakshmi)
Maha Gaṇapati (the great Ganapati)
Vijaya Gaṇapati (the victorious one)
Nṛitya Gaṇapati (the dancer form)
Urdhva Gaṇapati (the elevated form of Ganapati)
Ekakshara Gaṇapati (the single syllable form)
Vara/ Varada Gaṇapati (the boon giver)
Tryakshara Gaṇapati (the three letters form)
Kshipra Prasada Gaṇapati (the one who gives quick reward)
Haridra Gaṇapati (the kumkuma coloured Ganapati)
Ekadanta Gaṇapati (the single tusked form of Ganapati)
Srishṭi Gaṇapati (the creator form)
Uddaṇḍa Gaṇapati (the enforcer of dharma/ justice)
Riṇamochana Gaṇapati (the liberator from debts)
Ḍhuṇḍhi Gaṇapati (the sought after one)
Dvimukha Gaṇapati (a form with two heads)
Trimukha Gaṇapati (three faced form of Ganpati)
Siṇha Gaṇapati (the fearless lion form)
Yoga Gaṇapati (the Ascetic form/ one in a yogic posture)
Durga Gaṇapati (the invincible one, similar to Goddess Durga)
Saṇkaṭahara Gaṇapati (the dispeller of troubles)


The Hindu god, Ganesha, is known to be the god of auspicious beginnings and is worshipped in 32 different forms, as mentioned above. In India, you will find Ganpati murtis depicted in some of these forms. As per the religious scriptures, lord Ganesha took these forms to save his devotees from diverse issues of life.

The most popular Ganpati photo or idol is the one where the deity is seated or standing. Ganpati images in other forms like the dancing form are usually placed for aesthetic purpose. Also, some Ganapathi photos are rare to find such as the one where the deity’s trunk is straight or up in the air. Images of lord Ganesh with a modak in hand is quite popular. The deity is also known as Pillayar or Vinayagar in south India. Vinayagar images and idols are worshipped during Ganesh Chaturthi in different states in southern India. In Maharashtra, the festival is celebrated for ten days. Ganpati bappa images are adorned and people bring a Ganesh idol or statue home and worshipped. The celebrations conclude by immersing the idol in sea waters.

Also read: Buddha statue for home Vastu tips


Which Ganesha idol is good for home entrance?


When bringing a Ganesh idol for home, remember to notice the posture of the deity. Ideally, the Ganesha images or idol in lalitasana is considered the best. This is also known as sitting Ganesha as it represents a state of calm and peace. Other than this, Ganpati bappa images or Ganesh photos in reclining positions are also considered very lucky as it represents luxury, comfort and wealth.



Direction of trunk

When choosing a Ganpati statue or idol for your home, it is essential to notice the position of the trunk. As per Vastu, the trunk of the Ganesha idol should be tilted towards the left, as this represents success and positivity. It is believed that the Ganesh idol with a trunk tilted towards the right represents a hard-to-please attitude.


Which type of Ganesha idol is good for home? Ganpati murti Vastu Shastra explained


Modak and mouse

When buying a Ganpati murti for home, make sure a modak and mouse are part of the structure. This is because the mouse is considered as his vehicle while the modak is considered his favourite sweet. This Ganesh murti is ideal for home entrance.

The mouse also represents material desire and our mind, which is full of desire. Although the mouse is small and has tiny teeth, it can continuously nibble and empty out a barn full of grains. The parallel drawn is that there is a ‘mouse’ in all of us – our desires. These desires can eat away even a mountain of goodness within in us.

A mouse, with its tiny sharp teeth, snips and nibbles away at ropes that bind. Hence, the mouse resembles a mantra which can cut through layers of ignorance, leading to the ultimate knowledge and truth represented by Lord Ganesha.

So, it is essential to keep a note of these details when choosing a Ganesh idol for home.


Which type of Ganesha idol is good for home? Ganpati murti Vastu Shastra explained


Which colour Ganesha idol is good for home ?

According to Vastu Shastra, a white colour Ganesha idol for home is the perfect choice for occupants who are seeking peace and prosperity. You can also choose white Ganesha colour images. Those who are desirous of self-growth should opt for vermillion-coloured Ganesh murti for home. A white Ganesha attracts wealth, happiness and prosperity. Always remember that the back of the deity should face the outside of the house.

Usually, lord Ganesha is depicted as wearing red and yellow clothes. Ganesha colour is depicted as golden in one of his forms, which is regarded as auspicious.

Nowadays, most people also prefer installing Ganesh wallpaper or wall murals in their homes. This can be an excellent idea to adorn the puja room. However, one should keep the Vastu guidelines in mind when going for these decor ideas with a Ganesh photo.

Which type of Ganesha idol is good for home? Ganpati murti Vastu Shastra explained

See also: Vastu for tulsi plant at home


Vastu directions for Ganesha placement

Vastu for Ganesha images


Avoid these places for keeping Ganesha idols

According to Vastu experts, you should not keep the Ganesh murti in bedroom, garage or laundry area. It should not be placed under staircases or near bathrooms. Since the garage or car parking area is considered as a vacant area, it is unlucky to place any god in this part of the home. Also, there are a lot of negative energies below staircases which is not suitable for placing any Vastu item.


Best offerings for Lord Ganesha

  • A small bowl of rice is the ideal offering. Place the Ganpati idol on a raised platform always.
  • Modaks: Ganpati’s favorite sweet are the various types or modaks, especially the steamed ones.
  • Satori: A Maharashtrian sweet flatbread, which is also a preferred recipe during the festive season.
  • Motichoor laddu: Besides modaks it is believed that Lord Ganesha is fond of laddus, as well.
  • People also offer Durva-Dal or a type of grass to Lord Ganesha during puja.

See also: Can we keep single elephant statue at home


Significance of Ganesh murti

Keeping a Ganesh statue or picture at home is believed to attract good luck and prosperity. A Ganesh murti is a symbol of perfect life which teaches importance principles such as:

  • Big head to think big.
  • Large ears to listen carefully.
  • Tiny eyes to concentrate.
  • Small mouth to speak less.
  • One tusk to retain only goodness. One of Lord Ganesh’s tusks is broken. The symbolism of the broken tusk is that a wise person is beyond duality. The single tusk also signifies single-pointedness.
  • A long trunk to stay adaptable.
  • Big belly to digest good and bad.
  • The four arms of Lord Ganesha symbolise the four attributes -mind, intellect, ego and conscience.
  • Ganesh murti design, with one leg raised up and the other on the ground, symbolises that one should be involved in both, the spiritual and material worlds.

Since most people love Lord Ganesha, they collect or are gifted the Ganesha idol or images. So, a common question is,’How many Ganesh idols should be kept at home?’. According to Vastu, it is advised to keep only one idol in a room. If there are more than one Ganesh idol together, the positive energy is bound to get disrupted.


Bringing Ganesha idol home for the Ganesh festival

With the onset of the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, there are many people who bring the Ganesha idol home. While bringing a new ganpati murti home, the idol’s face is covered and it is unveiled only during its sthapana. The idol, which is brought home during the festival, is then immersed after one-and-a-half days, three days or 10 days, as per the number of days each family follows. As more and more people are becoming environment-conscious, there is an increase in people opting for eco-friendly Ganeshas for home, which get dissolved easily during immersion. Also, there are many options like Ganeshas, which when immersed, grows to become a plant that people are opting for. Choose a small Ganesh murti of you have a small mandir at home and make sure you follow the Vastu guidelines when placing the deity.


Which Ganesha idol is good for wealth?

As per Vastu Shastra, keeping a White Ganpati photo or idol in the house will attract wealth and prosperity for the family. However, it is essential to follow all the Vastu guidelines when placing the deity. For example, the back of the deity should face outside the house.



How can I place Lord Ganesha at the entrance?

It depends on what type of Ganesha idol/image you are placing at the entrance. Refer to this article for more details.

Which direction Ganesh should face?

Ganpati idols or images should ideally be placed in the north, north-east, east or west direction, preferably facing the north.

Which Ganesha idol is best for a work desk?

A standing Ganesha idol on the work desk brings enthusiasm to work and helps to overcome obstacles.

What is Durva and why is it offered to Ganesha?

Durva grass, which has blades in odd numbers, has a cooling effect on the body and is said to have healing properties. It is believed that the Durva has the power to attract the energies of Lord Ganesha and thus, help the devotee get His blessings.

Which is Ganesha’s favourite flower?

Red hibiscus is Ganesha’s favourite flower and is offered to please Him and seek His blessings for abundance and success.

Are there any rooms in which we should avoid keeping a Ganesha idol or image?

It is advised to never place a Ganesha idol in the bedroom, bathroom or even on a wall that is attached to a bathroom. The best place for Ganesh idols is at the entrance of your home.

Can we keep 2 Ganesh idol at home?

You can place two photos or idols of Ganesh in the house at two different places. One should avoid keeping more than one murti.

(With inputs from Surbhi Gupta, Purnima Goswami Sharma and Aruna Rathod)

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Magnet Schools

Magnet schools are part of the Clark County School District public school system. Unlike the public schools where students are zoned by address, magnet schools require students to apply or enter a lottery for admission.

The application deadline for all 2021-2022 school year applicants is  January 5, 2021.

Interested in a magnet school program for your child?  APPLY NOW!

Click on the Apply Now link above to complete a school choice application. Students going into Kindergarten through 10th grade may apply for magnet school admission for the 2021-2022 school year. You may choose from 1 to 3 schools. You must rank your choices (1,2,3) in the order of your preference.  The deadline to apply is January 5, 2021.

Magnet school admission is done by lotteryAfter the lottery applicants will be emailed their results. Applicants may also sign on to their dashboard to view lottery results when made available.  Please contact your 1st choice school if you have not received the notification email by March 1, 2021.

The following schools admit students by audition only: 
Las Vegas Academy Audition Criteria
Del Sol Academy Audition Criteria

Magnet Schools in Las Vegas 

What are Magnet/CTA programs?

Clark County School District (CCSD) magnet programs offer learning opportunities related to various themes for interested students.  Students from across the District may apply to a magnet program regardless of address, but transportation may be limited.

The purposes of magnet programs are to improve student achievement, promote diversity and create an awareness of career opportunities relative to the fields of study in which students may be interested.

What are Select Schools?

The five (5) CCSD Select Schools are designed to provide families with additional school choice options. Select Schools offer outstanding Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study, Advanced Placement courses, and other specialized programs. Many CTE programs offer industry certification for students who complete the entire course of study. The focus of CTE is to ensure that all students have access to rigorous, blended college-preparatory and career-oriented programs that lead to marketable skills for the 21st Century.

What grade levels are served?

Students in grades K – 11 are eligible for acceptance into a Magnet, CTA, or Select School. Only some of the high schools accept applications for 11th grade.  Any student in grades K–9 who will be living within the boundaries of CCSD may apply for a Magnet, CTA, or Select School program.

Magnet programs begin in Kindergarten to allow time for students to gain an understanding of the purpose of school and to develop interests during the kindergarten year. Most secondary magnet programs only accept 9th and 10th grade students because they have programs of study in which a student must participate for a minimum of three years.

Additionally, it is suggested that students do not enter into a CTE program past grade 10 so that they may complete a program of study. Students do not have to reapply annually to Magnet, CTA, or Select Program, provided they are meeting all program and school requirements.

How many schools have Magnet/CTA/Select Programs?

There are currently 45 magnet (33), CTA (7), and Select (5) school campuses including eleven elementary schools, twelve middle schools and twenty-two high schools. At the Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th grade levels, there are a set number of seats available. At other grade levels, available seats will depend on how many students have exited the program.

Magnet, CTA, and Select Schools are located throughout the valley. Information on school locations is available using the “school finder” feature on the magnet.ccsd.net website.

Magnet Schools in Vegas | Pros & Cons

Supporters of magnet schools focus on the success made by drawing students out of their assigned school zones, about the level of academic achievement, how magnet schools provide families more choice within the public school system.

Magnet schools also have specialized programs emphasizing a consistent theme or method of teaching, facilitating students’ and teachers’ commitment to the school. This helps students at Magnet schools surpass the achievement they would have made at their zoned schools.

Some critics of magnet schools focus on the inequity of the magnet school in general, how magnet schools often hurt neighboring public schools by taking away their brightest students, how selection processes will often keep children out who could benefit from a magnet school experience, the problems with student diversity that Magnet schools still have, and how magnet schools draw resources away from regular school programs.

The selective admission criteria of magnet schools often acts as an obstacle for students as it’s based on a lottery system and your chance of getting in is just that, a chance.

Magnet Schools in Vegas – How to Apply

Interested in a magnet school program for your child?  APPLY NOW!

Click on the Apply Now link above to complete a school choice application. Students going into Kindergarten through 10th grade may apply for magnet school admission for the 2021-2022 school year. You may choose from 1 to 3 schools. You must rank your choices (1,2,3) in the order of your preference.  The deadline to apply is January 5, 2021.

Magnet school admission is done by lotteryAfter the lottery applicants will be emailed their results. Applicants may also sign on to their dashboard to view lottery results when made available.  Please contact your 1st choice school if you have not received the notification email by March 1, 2021.

The following schools admit students by audition only: 
Las Vegas Academy Audition Criteria
Del Sol Academy Audition Criteria

Las Vegas High School Magnet Programs

Basic Academy of International Studies

Basic Academy of International Studies is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) world school with the Middle Years, Career and Diploma programs.  These programs employ highly effective teaching strategies to prepare students with the content, analysis, communication, and reflection skills to be successful in college and their career.  Develop skills in automotive, college preparation, early childhood development, entrepreneurship, fashion and design, foods, forensic science, or video production while enjoying the high school experience.

Canyon Springs High School

The Leadership and Law Preparatory Academy (LLPA) at Canyon Springs High School was established in 2003 as a Program-Within-a-School Magnet in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The LLPA offers a unique blend of traditional high school experience, 21st century skill acquisition, and civic leadership training. The LLPA offers majors in Law, Global Leadership, Business Leadership, or Military Leadership. LLPA instruction is designed to refine a 21st century skill set in students. The LLPA is monitored by an advisory board of professionals and representatives from the local higher education institutions, ensuring that the curriculum and programs offered are relevant, pertinent, and current. Visit  for more information.

Clark High School

With three award-winning magnet programs, Clark attracts a diverse pool of students from all across the valley in addition to serving the local community. Programs include the Academy of Math, Science, the Arts, and Technology (AMSAT), The Academy of Finance (AOF), and the Teach Academy. Clark students are given the opportunity to study in a uniquely cosmopolitan location ripe with opportunities both inside the classroom and out.

Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts

The Del Sol Academy of The Performing Arts (DSA) offer its students a well-rounded education in conjunction with individualized artistic development. The school is a comprehensive high school grades 9 thru 12l with a performing arts magnet program, bringing together the best elements of high school and the creative arts. DSA students are a unique blend of performers, artists, creators, athletes and scholars.

Desert Pines High School

The magnet academies at Desert Pines High School feature specialized courses focusing on a variety of career and technical education pathways: Animation, Culinary Arts, Photography, Radio Production (the only program of its kind in the state of Nevada), Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Video Production, and a new program for students interested in a medical career, Community Health Science.

Eldorado High School

Eldorado HS offers exciting opportunities in the Academy of Video Game Technology and Animation. The rich tradition of rigorous academics and sound extra-curricular activities at Eldorado provide students an incredible framework for achievement.  Eldorado is dedicated to providing a safe learning environment that promotes academic excellence, character development, and responsible citizenry. Digital Game students take courses geared towards video game design, and digital game development.  Animation students learn to create a variety of traditional and computer generated images.

Las Vegas Academy of the Arts

Las Vegas Academy of the Arts (LVA) was established 25 years ago with the objective of integrating rigorous academics with the Performing and Visual Arts.  The purpose of LVA is to provide an exceptional academic and arts environment and to foster a love for learning through diverse and engaging artistic experiences that offer an alternative approach to those students whose imaginations and creative skills dominate their learning processes.  The LVA approach offers original curriculum that centers on the core STEAM curriculum goals, but delivers lessons in an artistic manner.  The positive results of this innovative curriculum are evidenced in every classroom, every theatre, every studio, every rehearsal, every community event, and in LVA’s 97% retention and 100% graduation rates.

Rancho High School

Established in 1954, Rancho High School (RHS) is the second oldest high school in Las Vegas, and is home to two magnet academies: Pre-Medical and Aviation. The Pre-Medical program focuses on fundamental principles of medicine, basic medical procedures and equipment operations to prepare students for a career in the medical field. The District’s only Aviation Academy has two programs: Aerospace Engineering and Private Pilot. Private Pilot students choose to earn their FAA Private Pilot’s Certificate or participate in our Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) course. Aerospace Engineering prepares students to students focus on either Aerospace Engineering (AE) or Aviation Maintenance (AMT) to work toward their FAA AMT Certification.

Spring Valley High School

Spring Valley’s IB Program is designed to develop students who are inquiring and independent thinkers. In addition to challenging academics, IB also seeks to foster strong emotional and social characteristics, so that students are equipped to become productive citizens in a rapidly changing world.

Valley High School

Valley High School Magnet programs offer award-winning innovative experiences for all students who are interested in college, careers and more. These programs are strongly supported by the Las Vegas community in the way of scholarships, field trips, paid internships, curriculum, training, certifications, and much more. Programs include the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism, International Baccalaureate and Military Science, Technology and Emergency Management.

Las Vegas Middle School Magnet Programs

The STEAM Academy at Bridger Middle School

The STEAM Academy at Jim Bridger Middle School provides a project-based learning environment centered around critical thinking, collaboration, communication, technology, and innovation.  The elective based magnet curriculum includes aviation and aerospace, biomedicine, robotics, informational technology, and the fine arts. The aviation and aerospace emphasis is placed on engineering, space exploration, astronomy, and basic piloting skills. The biomedicine students explore anatomy and physiology, genetic diseases and pathology. Robotics students study engineering and design by building, programming and operating robots. Informational technology students learn the fundamentals of coding, app development, website building, animation, and broadcast journalism.  The stellar fine arts department concentrates on Band, Mariachi and Visual Arts.

Mahlon Brown Academy of International Studies

The IB Middle Years Programme at Brown Academy provides a framework of learning which encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers. The MYP emphasizes intellectual challenge, encouraging students to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and to the real world. The student is at the center, developing into an internationally minded person through the IB Learner Profile. Eight MYP subjects are required to provide rigorous, well-rounded knowledge, skills, and attitudes tailored for the 21st century. The IB MYP fosters the development of skills for communication, intercultural understanding and global engagement, qualities that are essential for life in today’s world.

Cashman Middle School Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering

Cashman Middle School Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (AMSE) is a cutting-edge program that addresses the interests of middle school students, while incorporating the national standards in math, science, and technology. The program provides students with an integrated engineering, science, and mathematics curriculum in extended blocks. Cashman’s program provides project-based learning – a hands-on approach – that is exciting and fun for highly motivated students. The program is rigorous in all classes; students start with high school content in sixth grade. Students learn and practice the engineering design process through a variety of challenges, which end with a culminating capstone project at the end of each year.

Robert O. Gibson Middle School Leadership Academy

The Leadership Academy at Gibson Middle School helps to expand student’s academic success, personal growth, and social development in preparation for college, careers, and life. The Leadership Academy uses the real world as a classroom in which students develop as leaders who take initiative, solve problems, work as a team, and demonstrate their abilities while addressing real community needs.

Kenny C. Guinn Middle School

Kenny C. Guinn Middle School STEM Academy provides students the opportunity to apply their in-depth knowledge to real world applications and to develop critical thinking skills. Students will consolidate their academic knowledge into culminating projects to analyze, reason, and conclude viable approaches and solutions to complex problems. Through rigorous classroom experiences, our highly motivated, diverse student population will utilize digital technology, communication tools, and networks to access, apply, and evaluate information based on the STEM principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Hyde Park Academy of Science and Mathematics

Hyde Park Academy of Science and Mathematics offers a specialized Pre-AP program for academically talented and high-achieving students. The program serves students requiring a demanding and challenging curriculum in all content areas. Advanced Placement strategies are incorporated into the instructional methodology, providing two-year acceleration of content and instruction in all curricular areas. Performance-based learning enables our students to apply newly acquired concepts and ideas to real-life situations.

Walter Johnson Junior High School

Walter Johnson Junior High School, Academy of International Studies, is an International Baccalaureate World School that inspires students to develop, achieve, and fulfill their unique potential through challenging, creative, and innovative learning opportunities.   Johnson offers a variety of classes that include design classes in advanced science and technology, VEX robotics, and video production.  Other classes include Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, visual and performing arts.  Johnson has championship sports teams as well as diverse clubs and activities.

K.O. Knudson Middle School Academy of Creative Arts and Technology

K.O. Knudson Middle School Academy of Creative Arts and Technology offers students the opportunity to pursue multiple courses of artistic study to discover their passions. Since 1997, KO Knudson has offered its students a unique middle school experience, with access to rigorous academic instruction that infuses arts-integration. Featuring nationally recognized performing and media arts programs, the Encore Department is the heart of the magnet program at KO Knudson’s Academy of Creative Arts & Technology.

Lied STEM Academy

Lied STEM Academy is a brand new, innovative, newly remodeled wall-to-wall STEM magnet school like no other focusing on architecture, robotics and computer science. We offer discovery, collaboration, hands-on learning and creativity through courses in design, architecture, robotics, and computer science to solve real world problems. Our campus provides a student-centered learning environment complete with collaboration pods and technology at our students fingertips.

Roy W. Martin Middle School

Roy Martin Middle School, in partnership with the International Baccalaureate Organization and our community, will develop through a rigorous, technology-rich curriculum inquiring, caring and life-long learners, who help create a better and more peaceful world.

Mike O’Callaghan i³ Learn Academy

Students in the Mike O’Callaghan i3 Learn Academy are immersed in STEM activities and lessons in a blended learning environment, allowing for a more personalized learning experience. Sixth grade students begin with 9 week exploration courses in Computer Science, Video Game Technology, Web Design, and Video Production. At the conclusion of the sixth grade year, students select a focus area and then have the opportunity to develop their chosen interest over the course of grades seven and eight.

Thurman White Academy of the Performing Arts

Thurman White Academy offers opportunities for students to find a passion, explore, and develop special talents and abilities at each grade level in all areas of the arts. At White Academy, the belief is that talent is nurtured and developed over time through the experiences students have both in and out of the classroom. White’s programs of Band, Choir, Dance, Theater, Orchestra, Visual Arts, and Media Arts are progressive, challenging, and most importantly, fun. It is for the creative, enthusiastic, and dedicated student.

Las Vegas Elementary School Magnet Programs

Walter Bracken STEAM Academy

Walter Bracken STEAM Academy is an award-winning elementary school located in the Clark County School District. Selected 2013 National Blue Ribbon School, 2017 Top Elementary Magnet School in America, Nevada Governor Designated STEM School and consecutive Title 1 Distinguished School’s recipient; Bracken has been the leader in advancing the STEAM theme. Teachers provide students with a hands-on, enrichment-based curriculum. Exploration classes promote student engagement and choice within the STEAM theme. Other highlights include STEAM labs, student gardens, one-to-one iPads, and an on-campus student bank.

Kit Carson International Academy

Kit Carson is an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme school. Students will benefit from the globally rich curriculum that is challenging and yet fun for students. The emphasis at Kit Carson Academy is inquiry-based instruction, Creative Arts, and Technology. Students will learn science and social studies concepts integrated within Nevada Academic Content Standards, learn a second language, have access to a variety of reading materials, and use the latest technology to research topics in which they are interested. In addition, Kit Carson provides students an opportunity to explore the world through music, art, and dance.

Roger D. Gehring Academy of Science and Technology

Roger Gehring Academy of Science and Technology empowers its school community by inspiring life-long learners through an innovative, STEM focused, blended learning curriculum.  We engage students in an academically rigorous curriculum that integrates technology with inquiry, creative expression, and problem solving.  Students participate in interdisciplinary, hands-on projects which incorporate standards-based learning in the school created community gardens, tortoise habitat, and science and engineering labs.  Roger D. Gehring Academy of Science and Technology is a diversity-focused elementary magnet school that strengthens the entry to exit outcomes for families of all racial and socio-economic backgrounds.

Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts

Students at Gilbert Academy of Creative Arts engage in an innovative and challenging instructional program designed to develop critical thinking skills while enhancing each child’s creativity. Gilbert’s distinctive school model integrates art, drama, movement, music, and broadcast communication into the Nevada Academic Content Standards so that learning becomes a multi-media and multi-modal experience. Gilbert serves as a prototype for arts-integration schools across the nation. Our teachers are trained in arts-integration strategies and methods by Kennedy Center teaching artists, and are able to provide classroom and school-wide experiences that bring the arts to the forefront of academic content areas.

Lomie G. Heard, A Marzano Academy

Lomie G. Heard Elementary School, A Marzano Academy, gives students the opportunity to pursue educational projects that most interest them. The academy provides students with a solid foundation in reading, writing, and math, while also providing enhanced instruction in computer science and robotics.

Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Magnet School

Mabel Hoggard Math and Science Magnet School was the first elementary magnet school in the state of Nevada. Hoggard’s mission is to challenge and empower all students by providing an enriched education with an emphasis on science, mathematics, and technology. Some of the highlights from the program include advanced math classes, additional science instruction beyond what is provided in the classroom, and a robust garden and animal lab. Hoggard is nationally certified by Magnet Schools of America and has received numerous awards including several garden awards.

Jo Mackey Academy of Leadership and Global Communication

Jo Mackey Academy is an elementary magnet school with a dual theme of Leadership and Global Communication. Skills essential to lead in a global society are fostered via the 3 C’s: Character, Citizenship, and Communication. Character development is cultivated using experiences that focus on the acquisition of desirable character attributes necessary for 21st century leaders. Citizenship is modeled through school-wide service-learning projects.  Communication skills acquired by means of technology innovation prepare students to network globally.

Gordon McCaw STEAM Academy

McCaw STEAM Academy (MSA) is a five star elementary school located in downtown Henderson. MSA is a Governor’s designated STEM school, Title 1 Distinguished School, Magnet School of Excellence, and was awarded top New and Emerging Magnet School in the Nation for 2017-2018 school year. McCaw offers an educational option for students and families who would like to pursue their interests and aptitude in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

Sandy Searles Miller Academy of International Studies

Sandy Searles Miller Academy is a globally recognized International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme with a STEAM focus. As an IB school, Miller provides Spanish instruction to all students. Students are involved in their learning through inquiry and discovery in an internationally relevant and rigorous program of study. Students are engaged in authentic real-world integrated experiences that guide student-centered learning.

Clarence Piggott Academy of International Studies

Piggott Academy of International Studies is an authorized IB World School.  Piggott promotes student learning through inquiry and discovery, with a focus on developing 21st century skills.  Students are challenged to think for themselves and take responsibility for their learning as they explore local and global issues. Highlights include challenging academics, Spanish language instruction, technology classes, engineering lab, extended school day, intramural sports and clubs, affordable before and after school care all within a welcoming school community that emphasizes character development. Piggott Academy is located just outside of Summerlin, in the Peccole Ranch Community.

Shelia R. Tarr Academy of International Studies

At Sheila Tarr Academy, students will be engaged in authentic real world integrated experiences that guide student-centered learning through the inquiry based process. As students take action upon their learning experiences, they become not only more active in their school, but also the community. Tarr Academy will offer each of its students the opportunity for instruction in Spanish along with other dynamic learning experiences that focus on Environmental Studies and Renewable Energy. Tarr has three school-wide gardens, school-sponsored activities; including sports, overnight field trips, and technology available to guide students become 21-st Century learners.

Please post any questions you may have about Magnet Schools below for all to see.  Your not the only one who is wondering!  Help grow our community by commenting 🙂

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The Durst Organization Sets its Sights Outside of New York City

Many real estate professionals have at least some familiarity with The Durst Organization. The organization is one of the oldest and perhaps most successful family-run commercial and residential real estate firms in New York City. Founded in 1915, the company is owned and operated by the third generation of the Durst family, and Forbes magazine estimates the family’s fortune is $8.1 billion. The family-run real estate empire owns, manages, and operates a 13 million-square-foot office portfolio in NYC, along with nearly 3,500 residential rental units.

There’s much more to the Durst family than the infamous Robert Durst, who quit the family business in 1992 after Seymour (who died in 1995) picked Douglas, the current chairman, to run the company. The Durst Organization’s business model since the 1950s has been based on assembling building sites, completing them, and owning them. And they own some excellent trophy buildings in New York City. 

The Condé Nast building at 4 Times Square was finished in 2000 and is one of the organization’s development projects that remains in its portfolio. Another high-profile project is One Bryant Park, also known as the Bank of America Tower, which was finished in 2010 and is now home to the company’s headquarters. But the Durst Organization’s most significant project in recent memory is One World Trade Center, which it developed along with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Rags to riches

The founding of the Durst real estate empire is also a classic rags-to-riches American immigrant story. The family patriarch, Joseph Durst, was a Jewish immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in 1902 from a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that’s present-day Poland. As legend has it, Joseph had three dollars to his name, spoke no English, and had zero connections when he got to America, but quickly found work in New York City as a tailor. In 1912, the resourceful Joseph Durst became a full partner in a dress manufacturer. 

Joseph used the profits from the business to acquire his first building in 1915, The Century Building at One West 34th Street. The rest, they say, is history. By 1927, he had formed the Durst Organization, and by the 1950s, the firm shifted from primarily real estate management to construction and development. Joseph Durst died on New Years’ Eve, 1973, and his son, Seymour, took control of the company.

The Durst Organization has always had a laser-like focus on New York City real estate, and with each generation, the family business grows. Douglas Durst is the organization’s current chairman, and his brother, Jonathan “Jody,” is the president. Douglas resigned as co-president in 2009, remaining as chairman but ceding day-to-day operations to Jonathan. 

The family is currently grooming the fourth generation of real estate moguls, including Douglas’ daughter, Helena, who serves as a principal; his son, Alexander, who serves as Principal and Chief Development Officer; and a cousin, David Neil, who serves as Chief Administrative Officer of the Leasing & Marketing Division. Kristoffer Durst is Douglas’ cousin and Jonathan’s brother, and he serves as a Senior Vice President.

Many professionals in the real estate industry have deep respect for the Durst family. “I can’t think of another U.S. real estate family that has lasted four generations and seen that kind of trajectory of growth,” Mary Ann Tighe, a CBRE executive, told the New York Times in 2015. “They usually don’t have partners. It’s their own money they put at risk.”

Despite its immense wealth and influence, the family keeps a relatively modest profile. The Durst family doesn’t display its name on museums, hospitals, or university buildings despite its philanthropic efforts, which are notable. The Durst family is among the founders of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, and they contribute considerably to the New School and the Trust for Public Land.

A foray into Philly

Because of the Dursts’ focus on New York City real estate, a recent development project outside of the Big Apple has raised some eyebrows. In September 2020, the Durst Organization’s $2.2 billion riverfront redevelopment plan in Philadelphia beat out a competing proposal by the city’s professional basketball team, the Philadelphia 76ers. The 12-tower, mixed-use project is Durst’s first deal outside New York City in the firm’s long, storied history.

The redevelopment project includes a total of 3.5 million square feet of new mixed-use space. The north site will have 1,800 residential units and 94,000 square feet of office space, and the project will also include a supermarket, a preschool, and other retail areas. The south site will consist of six smaller towers and 550 residential units with 26,500 square feet of commercial real estate space. Durst’s development was planned in various phases over nine years, and the firm’s bid was the only one of the four that didn’t require tax breaks or public subsidies. The fact that no tax breaks were needed apparently contributed heavily to the Durst Organization winning the bid.

When the winning bid for the redevelopment project was announced, the bigger story in Philadelphia was that the Sixers had lost (we in Philadelphia are used to the Sixers coming up short). Philly fans love basketball, but the proposal for the Sixers’ stadium was also unpopular among many city residents. The Durst Organization’s vision for Penn’s Landing is good news for Philly, a project to re-imagine the waterfront area along the Delaware River that separates the city from New Jersey. It’s the first significant master plan for the area since Simon Property Group’s failed grand vision of an entertainment and retail hub with a sky tram to Camden, New Jersey, in the early 2000s.

The Durst proposal was developed after wide-ranging community input from Philly neighborhood groups and politicians. “The Durst Organization’s thoughtful proposal prioritized minority participation and economic impact, without the need for a taxpayer subsidy,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. “This is a very large-scale project that will greatly impact the waterfront for years to come.”

Durst’s plan will not only not rely on tax breaks, but it will also give back to the Philly community in several ways. In the bid, the organization committed to contributing payments to the city’s Housing Trust Fund, enabling the renovation of existing affordable housing and the construction of new homes for lower-income residents. The proposal also contains an equity stake of up to 20 percent of the potential development to Minority Business Enterprise partners and commitments to hiring minorities and locals for the development’s construction.

From the sound of it, the Durst Organization has big ambitions in Philadelphia. Earlier in 2020, the firm finalized the purchase of a 1.6-acre parcel for another mixed-use development. The company also owns leases for a set of piers along the Delaware River. “Our goal is to build off investments in Penn’s Landing Park, Race Street Pier, and Spruce Street Harbor Park to transform the river into a gateway to Philadelphia while increasing economic opportunities for the entire city,” said Jonathan Durst, president of the Organization.

The announcement of the project has made a splash in the Philly real estate market. The Delaware River waterfront has been an area of the city with great potential for a long time, but it’s been prone to fits and starts development-wise, to put it mildly. Grandiose development plans along the waterfront have been promoted and scrapped for decades, going back at least to 1973

Most of the waterfront area has some nice attractions now, but it’s generally underdeveloped and car-centric. Columbus Boulevard is a six-lane thoroughfare along the waterfront with dangerous, racing traffic that hasn’t helped matters. Durst’s vision is refreshing, and they seem to have the expertise and experience to pull off such a large project, though some cynical Philly residents may be waiting for it to actually materialize before they believe it.

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What’s the next chapter?

So, is the win for Philadelphia a win for the Durst Organization, too? It remains to be seen as the redevelopment project in the City of Brotherly Love will play out over the next nine years. What’s more intriguing is that the Durst family has stepped outside the confines of New York City to undertake a significant project in another metro area, albeit one very close to home for them. Some real estate observers wonder if this could be a sign of things to come for the Durst Organization, which has historically always stayed in and around Manhattan.

The Durst Organization declined to comment, so whether or not they have aspirations in other U.S. cities is speculation for now. But it’s interesting to note that a new generation of the family could be coming to the helm soon and bringing new ideas to the firm, including perhaps stepping outside New York. Douglas Durst, 77, is still very active with the family business, and so is Jonathan, 66, who oversees the day-to-day operations and started at the firm in 1984. But with the fourth generation of the Durst family coming of age in the family business, it’ll be interesting to see what new strategies they bring to the table.

It also may be the case that the Durst Organization is frustrated with New York City, like some other real estate firms, and wants to test other markets.  Compared to other U.S. cities, NYC has been slower to recover from the pandemic. In July, the U.S. officially recovered all the jobs lost during the pandemic, but NYC still has regained only 82 percent. Many people, including Durst, probably have faith that New York will rebound in a big way, but it doesn’t hurt to diversify a real estate portfolio in terms of locations.

In contrast, a city like Philadelphia is currently beating out New York by some indicators. Philly astoundingly permitted more residential units than New York City in 2021 for the first time in recent memory, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The number of completed residences in Philly in the next two to three years will still likely shatter records even if more than half the units that were permitted in 2021 don’t get built. Housing is much more affordable in Philly compared to high-cost places like Manhattan, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. And while Philadelphia central business district offices are struggling with vacancies much like New York’s, residential neighborhoods are thriving. For-sale housing has been scarce in Philly’s suburbs, so many urban homeowners have chosen to stay put and enjoy multiple transit options and the restaurants, bars, universities, and other amenities the city has to offer.

But if the Durst Organization decides to jump deeper into the Philly real estate market, they’ll soon discover the city’s flaws, too, including a very high rate of homicides and gun violence, a stubbornly high poverty rate, and a regulatory landscape that’s been described by many as overly burdensome. A report from 2020 ranked Philly 71st out of 80 among U.S. cities in the ease of doing business, and the city’s annual job growth in the decade after the 2008 financial crisis was slower than the national average.

Testing out the Philadelphia real estate market brings opportunities and challenges for the Durst Organization. And it will also bring the chance to interact with a different cast of characters as far as developers, other real estate firms, and elected officials. The relations between Durst and Philly elected officials seem great now, but we’ll see how long that lasts. 

The city has recently moved to exert more control on commercial real estate development, as voters in the spring approved a ballot question that’ll significantly change how the city’s zoning board operates. One of these changes gives more control to the Philly City Council, which has already led to moves like mandatory inclusionary zoning in two districts. Trading favors for zoning or land decisions was also front-and-center in a notable federal corruption case against city Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson, although it was declared a mistrial in April.

The foray into the Philadelphia real estate market could be a one-time thing or a foreshadowing of the Durst Organization’s new strategy. Whatever the case, the family business is likely in good hands. The Durst real estate empire had the humblest of beginnings and has survived and thrived for more than a century in the rough and tumble world of New York City real estate, which is no small feat. A fourth generation of the Durst dynasty is getting closer to taking the helm, and that could mean some changes are on the way. While washing away the stain from the legacy of the bad apple heir, Robert, may never happen, the Durst family has accomplished enough to gain the respect and admiration of many in the commercial real estate world. Whatever the organization’s next chapter is, real estate professionals will be watching.

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Return to Nature | Sustainable Design is Back in a Big Way

Luxurious living and good ecological stewardship aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, many of the most prominent, desirable, and aesthetically pleasing design trends are focused on building sustainable spaces. These trends span architecture, infrastructure and industrial design, landscaping, and interior design and decor. Further reading reveals five integral themes brought compellingly to life.

Melding With the Landscape in More Ways Than One

Raj Kumar – Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty

The finest eco-friendly homes have always complemented their surroundings, with colors, textures, and materials that seem to emerge organically. But modern sustainable design takes this even further, embracing uneven terrain to create sophisticated systems of low-energy heating, cooling, and ventilation underneath the home.

This type of dynamic surrounding is what enables this ultramodern residence in Upstate New York to have such an extensive, highly efficient energy-recovery system that moderates the home’s temperatures year-round. There’s also a tastefully discreet solar collection system to take care of the entire property’s electrical needs, which—together with the use of porous concrete, natural stone, and accoya wood—enable it to coexist in perfect harmony with its environment.

Creating a Closed Loop for Resource and Water Use

Melisa Valero – Agave Sotheby’s International Realty

One of the most urgent and important tenets of sustainable design is reducing consumption. Homes need to cut down on their use of materials, energy, and water to help preserve nature and protect the planet. Reclamation systems enable them to do this by recycling and repurposing resources, along with selecting local, long-lasting building supplies.

All of these benefits are increasingly being incorporated into future-focused properties like this comfortable compound in San Miguel de Allende, which includes a rainwater collection cistern and water tank, onsite treatment for black and gray water, and a biodigester. Plus the whole structure was built with limestone and adobe sourced from the local area, reducing the emissions associated with transporting and disposing of materials.

Reducing Energy Consumption With Passive Cooling

Despina Laou – Greece Sotheby’s International Realty

In warmer climates, whether dry or humid, homes need to have systems and structures in place to help lower the high temperatures. Dissipating heat through natural, passive cooling is a great strategy that requires no resources and releases no greenhouse gasses—and a growing number of buildings are capitalizing on this approach.

When done right, the results can be visually striking. This inspiring villa on the island of Antiparos is proof, as the circular roof casts large portions of the property in cool shade at all times of the day. Sustainable bamboo, natural stone, and exposed concrete enhance the home’s beauty while also boosting its thermoregulating capabilities.

Employing Natural and Ethical Construction Materials

Czech Republic Sotheby’s International Realty

Organic materials are generally preferable to synthetic materials in sustainable design. But since manufacturing processes produce waste and emit greenhouse gasses, even natural materials can have a significant carbon footprint when imported from far away. That’s why it’s essential for architects to select woods that are grown regionally and harvested responsibly.

In Europe, as seen in this unique complex in South Bohemia, oak and pine are some of the most sustainable selections. This home certainly takes sustainability to another level, with a fully functional hydroelectric power plant on the premises and electric heat pumps to provide carbon-neutral warming and cooling.

Staying Warm and Cozy With Well-Insulated Windows

Brett McPeak & McPeak Group – Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty

Windows should always be top of mind for any architect or designer that values sustainability. Not only should they be positioned to optimize passive heating in winter and passive cooling in summer, but they should also be well-insulated to maximize comfort in all conditions. Above all, they should amplify the natural vistas surrounding the home.

Take a look at this contemporary estate overlooking Jackson’s West Gros Ventre Butte and Snake River Valley, with the Teton Range of the Rocky Mountains beyond. The nine-foot windows bring in so much natural light that for most of the day, there’s no need to turn on lamps. And their triple-pane glazing, combined with radiant in-floor and forced-air heating, ensure that the home stays snug in the winter months without needing to burn excessive fuel.

Sustainability is all about doing more with less, and ensuring what we enjoy now can be enjoyed in perpetuity. By sourcing natural and local materials, planning for passive heating and cooling, maximizing natural light, reducing resource consumption, and making the most of the landscape, modern designers are revolutionizing the luxury home.

Searching for more sustainable options? Check out these environmentally friendly homes.

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Register: Best Tips to Ensure Core Standards Compliance

Have you ever discussed with your volunteer leadership the best tips to ensure Core Standards compliance? Join us to learn how to make the most of all the resources that exist to help you in the process.  Hear from seasoned AEs who will share best practices to help your association get to the finish line in compliance with Core Standards!

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