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Commentary: Up to the Public to Save Nature Center

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, March 5, 2010
It’s an icon in our community, and it should be celebrating its 30th anniversary next year. But the Effie Yeaw Nature Center remains threatened with closure. That would mean no more nature tours, Maidu Indian programs, camps, school field trips, birding classes, art workshops and live animal exhibits.
In response to public outcry, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors gave the center a reprieve until July 1. But all bets are off after that. All county functions, from child services to public safety, face potentially devastating cuts.
It’s time to get creative.
The county parks department and the American River Natural History Association are working together on a proposal to eliminate the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as a county park, and transition to a nonprofit-run unit – like the city of Sacramento did a decade ago with Fairytale Town. But it would take some time to raise funds for a $1 million a year operation.
In the meantime, ordinary folks like you and me can buy a $50 Parks Passport to support the American River Parkway -- and other parks in Sacramento County. With a little bit of help, our treasured park assets shouldn’t have to shut down.
Pia Lopez writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.
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