Reopen the Rotary Nature Center

  • by: adrian cotter
  • recipient: Oakland City Council, Oakland Parks, Recreation, and Youth Development Department, Oakland, CA

Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland
Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, City of Oakland, District 3

Director J. Nicholas Williams Director, Oakland Parks, Recreation, and Youth Development Department 

The Rotary Nature Center (RNC), located at 600 Bellevue Avenue next to Lake Merritt, has been closed since March 2017. I'm concerned because the closure of RNC was abrupt and accompanied by little explanation as to what happened or why it had to happen. 

I am very concerned.

An Oakland institution with a rich past, RNC has been a crucial complement to the historic Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge. It has been a place for Oakland residents, our school children and tourists to learn about the lake habitat, birds and increase eco-literacy. Moreover, RNC and the trove of scientific information it contains has been an important resource for naturalists and scientists.

  1. I am worried that RNC will not be reopened and I want you to know that this would be a great loss for Oakland and everyone who spends time at Lake Merritt.

  2. I ask that you please support the reopening of RNC with the appropriate staffing so it can effectively serve the public and the wildlife refuge again.

  3. I request that your office or Oakland Parks and Recreation engage the public and listen to what the community and advocates of Lake Merritt want and envision for this venerable institution.

  4. I ask your help hold Oakland Parks and Recreation accountable on this matter and encouraging Director Williams to share his plan and vision, including a timeline, for the relaunch of RNC.

Please consider giving attention to this matter.

Update #53 years ago
Here is an update from the April 7th community meeting
Including the guiding questions and statements from OPYRD

Proposals for the Center are due April 30th.
Details can be found here:
Update #43 years ago
Hello all, and thanks again for your support,

The next public meeting for the Rotary Nature Center will be at Studio One, 365 45th Street, in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to

OPRYD has created a small committee to oversee the process, and hired a facilitator to lead. More details can be found on
Update #33 years ago
Reporting back from the meeting Wednesday the 24th, there seems to be a path forward for the Rotary Nature Center. March 17th is the next meeting. OPRYD hope the community will present proposals for partnerships for when the Center opens.

Sign up here to get updates from Community for Lake Merritt:

A full report of the meeting:
Update #23 years ago
One last reminder -- TONIGHT! the Oakland Parks, Recreation, & Youth Development department is having a Meet & Greet about the reopening of the Rotary Nature Center, Jan 24th, 2018. 6:30-8:30, at the Sailboat House, 568 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA.

Thank you for your support, and hope you might be able to make it tonight if you live in the area.
Update #13 years ago
Dear Supporters of the Rotary Nature Center,

Thank you for showing you care! Oakland Parks, Recreation and Youth Development, which has jurisdiction over the RNC, has announced a Meet and Greet to discuss the future of the center. We have verified their plans. We hope some of you might attend this meeting in person:

January 24th
6:30 to 8 pm
Sailboat House
568 Bellevue

Good news is that OPRYD Seems committed to "continuing the legacy" of the center.

Community for Lake Merritt
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