Community for Lake Merritt (CFLM) is a friends group with a mission to protect, improve and promote the Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge. CFLM’s vision is to steer the Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge into a new heyday responsive to the the current needs of the community. With the help of the devoted and knowledgeable staff and the support of the City of Oakland, CFLM hopes to return the Rotary Nature Center to a major focal point of activity at Lake Merritt.
Though the condition of the Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge has been in steady decline for some years now due to decreases in funding and other factors, both have a remarkable history of innovation. The Wildlife Refuge was the first in the country. In its prime the Rotary Nature Center was administered by the West’s first municipal park naturalist, Paul Covel, and was a well-funded, state-of-the-art interpretive center for the wildlife refuge at its door. The soul of these two institutions is still very much alive, and with more support and participation from the community, they can flourish again.
While it may seem like CFLM is a wildlife organization, we aim to be more: A beautiful, safe, educational gathering place that is mutually beneficial for the wildlife, our kids, and everyone else who gathers at Lake Merritt. We aren’t about animals versus people or people versus the city. We’re about coming together and creating a plan with the goal of building a more vibrant community for all.
In our vision, Oaklanders will once again see the Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge as places to gather, experience and learn about nature. We welcome any and all to join CFLM and work with us to make this vision a reality.
— Areca H’lael-Smit (President)