I have been going to the advisory committee meetings for Measure DD for a few years now. This is representatives of various groups and communities who meet with the Measure DD project manager to discuss the progress of various projects and to give advice and direction on what should or should not be pushed for.
One small project that had escaped my attention — that came up in the most recent of meetings — was the design of 6 interpretive signs. These would be distributed about the lake – but two were meant for the Rotary Nature Center area.
Members of the committee rightly pointed out that the signs ought to be multi-lingual, and that additional content could be placed on the web. Especially, if (as described to us) the intent was to help get across the message of not feeding the birds, and good more generally given the diversity of Oakland.
The lack of signs around the lake has always been a bit surprising, and Community at Lake Merritt had been looking at working on signs of our own, so it’s good to know this has been thought about.
It is nice to know a little bit of funding has ended up near the Rotary Nature Center — but I do wish I could rewind the clock to get the Center listed as one of the projects in Measure DD.
The project had been stalled because it lost both a designer and a project manager. It recently got a new project manager with a designer still needed to be found.
From today’s update from OPRY&D tomorrow Saturday, June 2nd, we will hear five proposals for programs at the Rotary Nature Center.
9:00am – noon:30
Lakeside Park Garden Center
666 Bellevuey Ave
For each proposal, there will be about 10 minutes for a high level summary and 10 minutes for community questions and support. The five presentations will be the following:
- Birds Are Natural Ambassadors for Nature, Science, Art, & Community –Cindy Margulis
- Bar Code the Lake – Damon Tighe
- Learning to Know Nature Through the Senses – Jennifer Jastrab
- S.T.E.M. Projects for Youth at the Rotary Nature Center – Katie Noonan
- Taking Wing – Donald Cooper
One plus of the clean up, was a chance for a peak into the Nature Center and a look at what’s happening. After months of looking like nothing had happened, there is now a lot of things being moved around inside.
Karis Griffin of OPRYD said in her last update, that “all taxidermy is being wrapped and boxes as recommended by a professional taxidermist–for safe keeping–except for the mountain lion, eagles, skeleton heads of small mammals and other taxidermy which were sealed under glass.”
There is not currently a date set for the end of cleaning, but she is hopeful she will know by the 27th of April, 2018.
She also provided this general info. There are:
- 4 tables,
- 30 chairs (which belong to the beekeeper)
- 2 desks
- 1 conference table
The Library is 22’x15′ (with 2 outlets)
The Office is 17’x12′ (with 4 outlets)
The Auditorium is 31′ x 27′ (with 2 outlets)
The Front Entry is 8’x27′
There is also a “modestly appointed” kitchen with 4 outlets. But shouldn’t be counted on as a space for use.
There is no storage available and no restrooms inside. (The restrooms were originally accessible from the inside, but the inner door was closed and the restrooms are only available from the outside).
They also provided a list of taxidermy from 2012, but have not yet tallied that to what they are cleaning up now.
My App Timehop noted a sad anniversary today: that of the closing of the Rotary Nature Center last year.
We’re finally coming to some concrete steps moving forward to a new and reinvigorated Center.
Todays’s update form Karis Griffin of OPRYD, brought to light her committee to govern and guide this effort, a fine crew of Lake Merritt stalwarts: C.J. Hirschfield (E.D. of Fairyland and involved with Rotary Club and many other things), Jennie Gerard (a veteran of city hall, and founder of Weed Warriors, and Lake Merritt Advocates), James Robinson (E.D. of Lake Merritt Institute), and the aforementioned Alan Briskin (the facilitator hired by the city).
The next public meeting is set for Saturday, April 7th, 2018 from 9am to noon. This meeting will be held at Studio One, 365 45th Street, in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland.
If you plan to attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
The committee went together this past Thursday to the Berkeley Shorebird Park Nature Center, to visit a potential model for our Nature Center (well worth a visit if you have not been — they have a pretty amazing docent program too).
The agenda for this meeting is
A couple of things happened this week.
One was an ad-hoc meeting organized by Katie Noonan and Stephen Cochrane (Wed 3/28/2018). We met at the Bellevue Club and talked about a range of issues, and identified a few things to look into, and talked about arranging visits to other Nature Centers in the area. We also had a little bit of heads up on the new below.
Friday’s update from Karis Griffin at OPRYD had some exiting news (3/2/2018):
Dear Community Partners,
I’m excited to update you on the progress we are making on the Rotary Nature Center.
We have retained the consulting services of Alan Briskin, a resident of Oakland and a facilitator of multi sector collaborative initiatives. To prepare Alan for the work ahead, he will be meeting with a core group, I will also be included in this group. Our task is to develop a process for a shared vision and an initial community gathering.
One of the key challenges and opportunities will be creating a Center that addresses diverse needs and interests from scratch. We must have a shared vision to do this.
Although there is currently no dedicated funding for programming, we believe it is possible to invite individuals, volunteers, and organizations to sponsor programs based on cost recovery and creative funding initiatives.
This communication is sent on a weekly basis to keep you updated on the Rotary Nature Center project. We thank you for your continued patience and support.
We anticipate that we will need to move the community meeting towards the end of the month or the first week in April.
Again, thank you for your patience. We hope that all of you are as excited as we are.
Updated – Jan 1st, 2019: the Center will have a grand opening Saturday February 16, 2019.
If you’ve been by the Rotary Nature Center in the last year, you will have noticed that the Center has been closed. The building is undergoing inspection and assessment, and a planning process to reopen it. Animals and the bees have been relocated from the building.
Good News: The Oakland Parks, Recreation, & Youth Development department is accepting program proposals for a reopened Rotary Nature Center. The city held a series of meeting with the community this spring and summer of 2018. This meeting was led by facilitator Alan Briskin along with a small committee including CJ Hirschfield of Fairyland, Jennie Gerard of Weed Warriors, and James Robinson of LMI.
11 proposals were submitted before the last meeting, and 5 were discussed at the meeting (and a 6th was accepted as well). The proposals were great and we look forward to helping to see them fulfilled. Karis Griffin said that the center would open sometime this summer.
Recent news (mid July) from the core committee tells us that the opening is now in the fall.
You can dig into the proposals here.
In the meantime, the Oakland Capital Improvement Program is an additional place we might be able to get funds. They are holding meetings in June to gather feedback on their process and priorities.
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