Celebrating 30 years of conservation and education with Yolo Basin Foundation

Yolo Basin Foundation, founded in July 1990, is turning 30! American Avocets (Recurvirostra americana) in the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. Mike Reinhart/Courtesy photo

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By Chelsea Martínez
Special to the Express

July 2020 kicks off Yolo Basin Foundation’s 30th anniversary! Beginning in 1990, the Foundation led the community effort to create the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, now a 16,800-acre gem showcasing the diverse habitats of the Central Valley. Yolo Basin Foundation continues to advocate for the stewardship of the Wildlife Area by building and sustaining unique partnerships. The education activities they began 30 years ago with weekend field trips have blossomed into a wide range of programs enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages every year.

Have you seen the new Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area sign on I-80 Yolo Causeway? The logos represent 30 years of continuing federal, state and local partnerships. This summer two new bridges are being installed and 220 acres of new wetlands will be restored in the Wildlife Area as a result of the Foundation’s ongoing efforts to sustain successful partnerships. The bridges will alleviate road flooding, improving public access for thousands of Wildlife Area users including Discover the Flyway students, farmers, birdwatchers, anglers, hunters, photographers and hikers.

Since 1997, their Discover the Flyway outdoor education program has brought over 73,000 school children to explore and learn about the wetlands. Nearly half of the students come from Title 1 schools. Last year, California Duck Days, Northern California’s annual wetlands and wildlife festival, celebrated 25 years of field trips, activities and workshops for the whole family!

This spring as field trips were cancelled due to rising health concerns, Foundation staff quickly shifted focus to serve the community in new ways. They developed online activities and resources for teachers, parents and their students to continue learning about the wetlands from home. The Discover the Wetlands summer camps were transformed into virtual gatherings leading campers through at home science experiments and crafts. New interactive bat education opportunities were created including the Yolo Bat Chat, Bats and Crafts, and viewings of the bat fly outs on Facebook Live. In addition, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, open sunrise to sunset, continues to offer a local retreat to enjoy the outdoors.

Everyone at Yolo Basin Foundation is looking forward to what opportunities the next 30 years will bring! The Foundation’s mission is to expand public appreciation and stewardship of wetlands and wildlife in the Yolo Basin through education and innovative partnerships.

Your generous support ensures that Yolo Basin Foundation will continue to inspire people of all ages through high-quality education programs and be the voice safeguarding the countless benefits of the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area for years to come. Learn more about the Foundation and donate at yolobasin.org.

Supporting small, local nonprofit organizations keeps our community a strong, thriving place that continues to support us all.

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