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1975 - Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society incorporates as a 501c3 nonprofit [Heritage Junction]


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

evelynevandersande_mugWould you like to adopt some wildlife? I sure hope you have no problem slicing into a dead rat, if you want a raptor. Also, their enclosures need to be constructed according to Fish and Wildlife recommendations, and yes, they are large, so that is going to take a good portion of your backyard. They need to be cleaned every day, and there is also the matter of the permit. You will need one, and that will demand months of training and inspection, and frankly, your chance of getting one is extremely thin.

To think of it, food for snakes, turkey vultures and tarantulas can also be a bit dicey.

Are you disappointed? Don’t be. There is a way at Placerita Canyon Nature Center to adopt an animal without going through all of this endless work.

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All photos by Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates

The Placerita Canyon Nature Center is not a zoo, but it does have many live animals on display in the museum, and others that are shown on Saturdays at 1 p.m. during the Animal Presentation. Visitors can get close views of desert tortoises (when they are not hibernating), live snakes (including rattlesnakes), as well as turtles, lizards and toads in their terrariums. Trained docents also present other animals to the public at 1 p.m., including tarantulas, various snakes, an American kestrel and larger birds.

Have you ever seen a barn owl or turkey vulture up close and personal? Orion, the Nature Center’s great horned owl, is always a big hit with young and old. The larger animals at the center cannot be released into the wild, as they have either been sick or injured, or have imprinted on humans. That’s really why there are there.

pcnca_adopt8Now, many of these animals are adoptable. No, you can’t take them home with you, but you can help the Nature Center by providing financial support for their food, veterinary care and the supplies necessary to ensure these animals receive the exceptional care they must have.

The animals at the Nature Center need that special guardian who wants to help with their care and feeding. It’s the Adopt-An-Animal Program, and you can get more information from a brochure available at the center or by calling 661-259-7721.

There are five different financial packages, starting at just $25 for a one-year adoption. Some of the perks you’ll receive include a photo and fact sheet about your adopted animal, a certificate of appreciation and recognition galore. And, of course, you can visit your adopted animal any time you wish.

pcnca_adopt11These adoptions have been highly popular with schools and Scouts. Some families have adopted several animals every year since the program began. The Nature Center can even personalize these adoptions for birthdays, anniversaries or any other special occasion. They make great gifts for a nature lover. So I hope you’ll come to hike in the Natural Area, and then stop in at the Nature Center and adopt an animal.

But perhaps, like so many other people in this valley, you don’t know about the Nature Center. We have been there for more than 30 years, but we are in a quiet and beautiful part of this valley, so maybe you missed us previously.

pcnca_adopt9Placerita Canyon Natural Area is a hidden gem within our community. It’s easily accessible: Take Sierra Highway to Placerita Canyon Road and drive 2 miles east to the entrance. Here you will find 10 miles of hiking trails, gorgeous scenery and a tranquil setting that will make all your stress and worries disappear.

Within the Natural Area is Placerita Canyon Nature Center – a building that always seems to be bustling with activity. School children arrive for special programs during the week, and on Saturdays you can visit and take a nature stroll with a docent in the morning or attend a live animal presentation in the afternoon.

There are bird walks, wildflower walks, and on one Sunday each month there is a nature lecture series that is fascinating for all. No parking fees, no entrance fees – what could be better? All of this information and more can be found online at Placerita.org.

Maybe you are not interested in animals, so I’ve kept the best part until the end: Placerita is a beautiful place to hike, stroll, look at wild flowers or just relax, sit on a bench and listen to the birds. Have a great spring.

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at the Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 28 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

pcnca_adopt12pcnca_adopt10 pcnca_adopt7 pcnca_adopt6 pcnca_adopt5 pcnca_adopt4 pcnca_adopt3 pcnca_adopt2

 

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