Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge

Rotary Nature Center and Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge An interpretive museum, providing education about the natural environment while overseeing America's oldest wildlife refuge and Oakland open spaces.
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LIKE us on Facebook. FOLLOW us on Twitter (RotaryNatureCtr). Constructed in 1953, the Rotary Nature Center, a City of Oakland Office of Parks and Recreation site, continues in a long tradition of education offering outreach programs and summer day camps instructed by our dedicated naturalist staff. Established in 1870, the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States allows the public to observe several species of resident and migratory waterfowl at close range.

Operating as usual

11/01/2020

I don’t ever remember seeing quite so many cormorants at the Lake before but sometimes its hard to count. Must have been good fishing. These were heading out for the day.

10/30/2020

At the flood control this morning. Pelicans, Cormorants, and Egrets fishing. The tide was just coming back in, and the fish who might have escaped into the flood control were being thrust back out into the stream.

A worthwhile read....
06/19/2020
Birding While Black

A worthwhile read....

“Southern trees bear strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.” –Abel Meeropol (aka Lewis Allan), “Strange Fruit” It’s only 9:06 a.m. and I think I might get hanged today. * * * * T…

06/07/2020
Lake Merritt Beneath the Surface presentation 2020.06.03

Watch California Center for Natural History's presentation on Lake Merritt. Damon Tighe shows a lot of incredible photos and shares some of his accumulated knowledge of the fascinating things found underneath the surface.

Presentation on the organisms that live in Lake Merritt of Oakland, California by Damon Tighe. Jump to portions of the presentation using these links: 2:45 L...

We have some great underwater footage of Lake Merritt (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGvKb5v3sAjqEzf3wXZZ6IA) , but t...
04/29/2020
California Floater Mussels Take Fish for an Epic Joyride | KQED

We have some great underwater footage of Lake Merritt (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGvKb5v3sAjqEzf3wXZZ6IA) , but this footage from Mountain Lake in San Francisco is gorgeous, and so close up!

The California floater mussel does a surprising amount of travel - for a bivalve. First it gets ejected from its parent's shell into the wide watery wilderness. Then it leads a nomad's life clamped on the fins or gills of a fish. Once it's all grown up, the mussel goes to work filtering the water, k...

Two Double Crested Cormorant (maintaining their social distance from other cormorants?!) have come back to the Lake Merr...
03/20/2020

Two Double Crested Cormorant (maintaining their social distance from other cormorants?!) have come back to the Lake Merritt island nesting tree. (Only one in the pic)

It's Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge day
03/18/2020

It's Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge day

It's official. Thank you, Mayor Schaaf!

Happy 150th Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge! This day in 1870, the California State Legislature enacted a bill to protect t...
03/18/2020

Happy 150th Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge! This day in 1870, the California State Legislature enacted a bill to protect the wildlife of Lake Merritt. This was of course designed to protect wildlife from people (and perhaps the peace and quiet of Dr. Samuel Merritt). As my photo shows, it doesn't necessarily protect the wildlife from each other :-)

The Pollinator Palooza at Lake Merritt has been postponed - new date TBD
03/09/2020

The Pollinator Palooza at Lake Merritt has been postponed - new date TBD

The Pollinator Palooza at the Lake has been postponed - new date TBD

Citizen scientists - please join the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge - keep your eyes peeled for early season Monarchs...
02/13/2020
The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge February 14 – April 22 – Western Monarch Count

Citizen scientists - please join the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge - keep your eyes peeled for early season Monarchs and post sightings (with a picture if possible) on iNaturalist. We really need to gather data on our dwindling population - especially the first migratory generation. And there are prizes!

The Western Monarch Mystery Challenge February 14 – April 22 Stephanie McKnightPosted on February 5, 2020 Posted in Events Photo: Stephanie McKnightThe Western Monarch Mystery Challenge is a campaign running from February 14th to April 22nd, to collect more records of where western monarchs spend ...

Hank and friend on a recent evening.
02/10/2020

Hank and friend on a recent evening.

Critter Hunt at the Lake Merritt Boating Center Dock with Damon Tighe
01/10/2020
Critter Hunt at the Lake Merritt Boating Center Dock with Damon Tighe

Critter Hunt at the Lake Merritt Boating Center Dock with Damon Tighe

What invertebrate organisms call the docks at Lake Merritt home? Naturalist Damon Tighe will lead the exploration to find, identify and photograph the hardy invertebrate life still hanging on after the rains. Meet in the parking lot of the Lake Merritt Boating Center at 10 am. Dress warm in layers i...

01/05/2020
Yes on Q 2020 - Improve Our Parks, Care for Our People

Join us in supporting Measure Q

Measure Q will provide our most vulnerable populations with access to support services that help them find shelters and housing, and help to ensure that all Oakland parks, estuaries, and recreation centers are clean, safe, and equitably well-maintained.

11/07/2019

From my office window in downtown -- a glimpse of a feeding frenzy in the Adam's Point Arm of the lake: brown pelicans splashing, cormorants hunting in a pack, gulls working the edges, snagging fish from the surface and trying to steal from the others. I imagine striped bass are there in the mix too.

From Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation -- "This year our board and affiliated volunteers  have decided to focus on...
10/24/2019
OAKLAND PARK and REC EXPERIENCES and PERSPECTIVES SURVEY 2019

From Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation -- "This year our board and affiliated volunteers have decided to focus on experiences and perspectives related to our parks. We're interested in knowing why Oaklanders use their neighborhood parks."

Take this survey powered by surveymonkey.com. Create your own surveys for free.

More photos from the Nature Popup event yesterday...
10/06/2019

More photos from the Nature Popup event yesterday...

OAKLAND, CA. Saturday, October 5, 2019. CFLM hosted six pop-up stations at the Rotary Nation Center (RNC) at Lake Merritt. CFLM partners with the RNC and Oakland Parks Recreation and Youth Development to present hands-on science and natural history education and outreach.

Monarch emerging from the chrysalis at out popup event. Beautiful day!
10/05/2019

Monarch emerging from the chrysalis at out popup event. Beautiful day!

The tide gates still closed from the Dragon Boat races... but a feeding frenzy was on the channel. Dozens of egrets, 3 g...
10/01/2019

The tide gates still closed from the Dragon Boat races... but a feeding frenzy was on the channel. Dozens of egrets, 3 great blue herons, a couple dozen cormorants, western gulls, a white and several brown pelicans, and a kingfisher in on the action

Congrats to John Muir Laws for being awarded the 2020 Bay Nature Local hero award! (not pictured, that's another excelle...
09/26/2019
Presenting Bay Nature's 2020 Local Hero Award Winners - Bay Nature

Congrats to John Muir Laws for being awarded the 2020 Bay Nature Local hero award! (not pictured, that's another excellent local here :-) John Muir Law's has taught nature journaling at the Center in the past and we hope to have him here again in the future!

Meet an Ohlone cultural leader, a rock-climbing instructor, an inspirational teacher of wildlife journaling, and a guardian of San Francisco Bay.

09/24/2019

Help us raise this issue

Keep an eye out for Peregrines. Some new ones on the scene and they occasionally wander our way...
06/18/2019

Keep an eye out for Peregrines. Some new ones on the scene and they occasionally wander our way...

Great news! All four peregrine falcon babies fledged recently at their home on Fruitvale Bridge by the Oakland Estuary. All four falconettes are doing well, and apparently the family is feasting on pigeons! Thanks to FOSC founder and board member Mark Rauzon for the gorgeous photos. #falconsofinstagram #peregrinefalcon @ Fruitvale Bridge

06/17/2019
May 15th Reunion of OHigh Open ROV Team

A view under the docks at the Sailboat house. Footage courtesy of Katie Noonan's Lake Merritt Observatory and her crew of formers students (plus David W and Adrian C) driving a Trident underwater drone.

Come by and say hello to the bees. They were returned this week!
06/16/2019

Come by and say hello to the bees. They were returned this week!

05/16/2019
Oakland Parks, Recreation & Youth Development

An Update from OPRYD about Hank the Pelican

Oakland Parks, Recreation and Youth Development (OPRYD) is pleased to report that Hank, our beloved pelican, is alive and well on Lake Merritt and is feeding herself as she often does during this time of year. Hank has a frail wing (it was damaged when we first received her) that prevents her from flying. We are also aware that as a wild animal, she must be allowed to function naturally as much as possible, including fishing and feeding herself as she has done since coming to the Rotary Nature Center. Hank is an active fisher five to six months of the year and thrives on the annual visits from her pelican family. This year, Hank’s family visited longer than usual and spent most of their time on the waters of Lake Merritt feeding and sunbathing. Staff observes these visits as important measures of Hanks ability to fend for herself and confirmation that she has not become completely domesticated or dependent on human support. However, the staff continues to supplement Hank's diet and monitor her well-being.

Click on the following link for more information about how Hank came to live at Lake Merrit. https://buff.ly/2H8G3UG

Some fun stuff in the fish traps to start off today’s bioblitz #lakemerrittobservatory
04/27/2019

Some fun stuff in the fish traps to start off today’s bioblitz #lakemerrittobservatory

Had a nice morning at the Lake today. A merganser, a small goose (which one Canada goose really didn’t like), and lots o...
04/05/2019

Had a nice morning at the Lake today. A merganser, a small goose (which one Canada goose really didn’t like), and lots of singing songbirds were the highlights. Still wondering why the Cormorants decided to bail on the Lake this year.

Address

600 Bellevue Ave
Oakland, CA
94610

General information

Our City of Oakland Supervising Naturalist, Stephanie Benavidez, and her staff also oversee the Open Space, Conservation and Recreation (OSCAR) locations of Joaquin Miller Park, Kings Estate Open Space and Shepherd Canyon.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 10:00 - 16:00
Thursday 10:00 - 16:00
Friday 10:00 - 16:00
Saturday 10:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(510) 238-3739

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Constructed in 1953, the Rotary Nature Center, a City of Oakland Office of Parks and Recreation and Youth Development site, continues in a long tradition of education offering outreach programs and summer day camps instructed by our dedicated staff. Established in 1870, the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States allows the public to observe several species of resident and migratory waterfowl at close range.

This unofficial page is run by volunteers who are happy to try and keep you connected with goings on at the Rotary Nature Center.

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