Placer Nature Center provides eco-education

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Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of 12 stories on volunteers in our community. The stories will be published as a countdown to the holiday, in honor of the 12 days of Christmas. Steve Davis is a Placer Nature Center docent and also serves as chairman of the board of directors. Q: What does your organization do? A: It presents environmental education programs to schoolchildren, primarily K-8 school children and also to their families. We offer a number of programs that are related to the California education standards. We have designed programs that meet those standards, whether it’s habitat or ecology or watershed. Most of the education is done by way of field trips to our site. We have a 60-acre nature center with a nature trail, we have a classroom, we have a science museum, we have a small aquatic environment. And then we have weekend programs for families, usually once a month. And for the broader community, we have what we call our Fourth Friday lecture series. Q: Why do you volunteer? I’m kind of an environmentalist. We only have one planet, there’s a lot of people on it, and we need to keep it healthy. I’m just volunteering to help fill the gap in environmental education. Q: What are the highlights or challenges to volunteering? Everyone is busy, so finding time and making time to do it (is a challenge). Highlights are getting donations, getting a grant, seeing kids say, “Wow, I’ve never seen one of those before.” When you have a good turnout at a lecture, or you get a nice check from an organization or an individual, those are definitely high points. Q: What do you do when you’re not volunteering? I’m a retired teacher. I taught science at Spring View Middle School (in Rocklin). I do some other volunteering. I drive the bus for Gathering Inn two, three times a week. I love to hike, ride my bicycle, garden. My hobby is keeping my carbon footprint as small as possible. Q: How can people volunteer their time or money? They have a Web site, We are always looking for docents, and we are always looking for donors. Editor's Note: Reach the Placer Nature Center by calling (530) 878-6053. ~Loryll Nicolaisen