Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

Effie Yeaw (rhymes with “saw”) (Effie May Cummings), was born on May 5, 1900 in the Chico, California area. The first few years of her life were spent moving from Sonoma County to Barstow. At five her family moved to Lincoln and then to a large house on M Street. In 1922 she received her B.A in Social Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Before she married William H. Yeah she spent her vacations traveling to China, Japan and Korea.

As a teacher in Carmichael, Effie took her kindergarten classes to a small “zoo” and “interpretive center” in Carmichael Park. It is no longer there, having been closed down in the mid-1950s. With a house on Palm Avenue, near the American River and the Carmichael Park, Effie regaled her classes, and all interested, in the lore and experiences of all things in nature. At the end of Palm Avenue in Carmichael lay the Deterding ranch, a favorite place for Effie to take any wanting to learn more about the flora and fauna of the American River.

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center came into existence in 1976, six years after her death, on January 3rd, 1970. Living next to Ancil Hoffman Park, on the old Deterding Ranch she loved, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center has attracted hundreds of thousands of people to its well designed paths and well-labeled sights.

My son and I visited the Nature area last Sunday, for a couple of hours of walking, quietly talking and taking pictures. We were struck by two very noticable things: There were over 20 deer in the grazing area next to Ancil Hoffman Park, and there were some very loud people strolling the nature trails. He and I walked quietly, whispering and pointing out the sights. Several deer ran past, within yards of where we stood.

Behind us a group of people tried vainly to scare the deer by shouting. The deer didn't care about them and continued eating their evening meal.

One of the attractions of the nature Center is the outdoor exhibit of Ninenan living and culture. There are two reed huts, a grinding stone and other artifcats used by the people who lived along the River before it was named the American River.
There were also a couple of fresh water ponds with not so fresh water.

Gerald F. Ward

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