I have always known San Francisco to be a city that takes pride in its strong green morals, its breathtaking views of nature, and lush vegetation. The city also holds the title of being the second greenest city. However last week when I was volunteering at the wildlife organization that I partake in, I learned that San Francisco doesn’t have a wildlife center. My concern outweighed my shock at the lack of existence of a nature center in the city.
While San Francisco has a zoo and a prestigious Academy of Sciences where one can gain much information about our planet, ticket prices can get in the way of everyone being able to afford these places. The San Francisco Zoo entrance fee is $15.00 for adults and $9.00 for children. The Academy of Science whose prices are higher than the zoo’s, charge an entrance fee of $24.95 for adults, $19.95 for youth, and $14.95 for children. While it is good that the majority of the money the zoo and science academy make goes to helping out animals and the environment, not everyone can afford to pay these prices. For those whose budgets are on the tight side, a nature center would benefit you.
Nature centers are usually non profit, donation only establishments. Usually ranging in size of small to medium, the centers create a personal family atmosphere that locals can enjoy while learning about wildlife and nature. Wildlife would also be able to benefit from a center like this. They would be able to have a comfortable and practical place to stay while being rehabilitated back to healthy conditions or release back into the wild. While the zoo does provide a place for animals to inhabit while seeking medical attention or rehabilitation, nature centers allow for wildlife to be in a smaller setting with fewer crowds during all times of the day. In addition to this, a nature center would benefit wildlife the most if it was set up in a rural area with lots of foliage. This type of environment would most realistically mimic animals’ natural environment.
Now more than ever with environmental problems occurring all around the world, San Francisco needs to establish a nature center so the public can continue to be aware of wildlife and nature in their area. Cities that have already established nature centers need to make sure they are making all efforts to draw in the public on a daily basis.
It is one thing to visit a zoo and get a glimpse of the diverse animals that enhabitat different parts of the world. It is another thing to be able to gain knowledge about wildlife and environmental issues in your area, without having to leave your neighborhood. A nature center needs to be set up in the city within the next year or so. People need to be able to rely on a center that provides educational information about the environment that doesn’t come with high ticket prices. Environmentalists are concerned that ignorance will contribute to the detriment of our planet. However as environmentalists, it is our job not only to provide people with necessary information about the environment, but also to make sure there are practical facilities like nature centers where the public can go to gain this knowledge. To support the establishment of a nature center in the city log on to www.sfromp.com and sign the nature center petition.
Ashlee Johnson is a sophomore
environmental studies major.