With a 31-year legacy of service to the environment, students, and the community, Placer Nature Center (PNC) is Placer County's pre-eminent environmental and science learning center. Established in 1991, the Center offers three exhibit halls. First, a hands-on science lab called the "Discovery Room," which houses our observation beehive, microscopes, animal tracks, skulls, and rock collections. Second, a main exhibit hall in which children and adults learn about our 'changing lands' and 'energy conservation'. Our third exhibit hall is the Watershed Learning Center which we use in our programs to teach about water conservation and watershed in the Sierra Foothills. We have an interpretive nature trail system, a replica First People's Village (where we teach about the local Nisenan and Maidu tribes) with Native Plant Garden, a 3/4 acre Learning Garden and Compost Education Center and a Nature Park.
Placer Nature Center was planned, funded, and constructed by volunteers - raised out of a dilapidated farm complex, it's a monument to community service and dedication. The site is owned by the State of California's Resources Agency and also houses the California Conservation Corps. Students visit yearly on field trips to increase their scientific literacy and develop stewardship attitudes toward the earth. To date, we have served approximately 180,000 students from Sacramento, Placer, and Nevada Counties, through thematic environmental education programs on diverse subjects such as food chains, watershed, habitat, and Native Californian cultural history. Students are led by volunteer Docents, often senior citizens, who find community connection, personal satisfaction, and build new relationships while mentoring youngsters.
Our science training programs for teachers have won national awards. Our teaching curricula for students are similarly celebrated. Placer Nature Center provides programs to the general community, with subjects ranging from watersheds to composting to bat conservation. Volunteer opportunities are offered for the community, families, Scout troops, and service groups (Intel, Hewlett Packard, Surewest, Sutter Faith, etc.) develop projects to support and benefit Placer Nature Center facilities and programming. PNC generates operational support through grants, memberships, donations, endowments, and bequests.