Learn About Our Rich History
In 1955 Effie Yeaw, a teacher, conservationist and environmental educator began leading natural and cultural history walks in an area known as Deterding Woods, located along the American River in Carmichael. Effie Yeaw and other local citizens recognized the value of the natural and cultural resources along the American River and began working with citizen groups to raise interest in preserving the lands along the river. She also trained tour guides and worked with William B. Pond, then Director of the Sacramento County Parks Department, to develop the concept of a “Parkway” along the river that included the preservation of Deterding Woods, now known as the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and Nature Area.
In 1960, the Director of Parks received a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to purchase land along the American River in the area now known as Ancil Hoffman Park, which included Deterding Woods. That was the beginning of many purchases to establish the Parkway, including the Effie Yeaw Nature Area.
In 1965 the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved a Land Use and Development Plan that included an Interpretive Center in Ancil Hoffman County Park to interpret the natural and cultural resources of the American River Parkway.
In 1972 Sacramento County voters passed a Park Bond measure that included funding for the Interpretive Center. As a result of public comment and support, in 1973 the Sacramento County Recreation and Parks Commission requested that the County Parks Department plan and develop this facility. In 1974 a citizen’s advisory committee studied the feasibility of an interpretive center in Ancil Hoffman County Park. Many of these citizens were introduced to the natural resources of the Parkway by Effie Yeaw herself. They reviewed and revised the 1965 Land Use and Development Plan, and along with many other recommendations, presented updated goals and objectives that were adopted by Sacramento County Parks as part of their October 1975, Effie Yeaw Interpretive Center Prospectus.
Construction of the Nature Center was completed in June 1976 and was dedicated in memory of the teacher whose dedication to nature and children still guide Nature Center activities today. The Nature Center’s statement of purpose was adopted as part of the American River Parkway Interpretive Plan on January 11,1978. The Effie Yeaw Nature Center’s cooperating association, the American River Natural History Association (ARNHA), adopted the same goals upon its establishment in 1981.
In July, 2010, the County decided they could no longer fund the Center and it is now operating under the auspices of the American River Natural History Association, a non-profit organization that has supported the Center for 30 years.
Though Effie Yeaw died in 1970, her legacy lives on in the American River Parkway she helped to establish and in the Nature Center whose guiding philosophy is Effie’s genuine love for nature and children.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center celebrates its 40th Anniversary! A milestone that, at one time, seemed unreachable was heralded with a celebration including staff, volunteers, donors, board members and visitors. The Nature Center is stronger than ever and is looking forward to another 40 years of serving our community!
The Effie Yeaw Nature Center is dedicated to providing educational and interpretive programs and information about the natural environment, principally in the American River Parkway.
- To provide opportunities for the visitor that will promote awareness, appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the natural and cultural resources of the Sacramento Region
- To provide awareness and understanding of human interdependence within a finite ecosystem and the need to conserve its resources and protect its quality.
Our Strategic Plan is a living document, and as such will reflect adjustments over the next five years, as we attain resources and find ways to best support our targeted goals. We will notate updates to this public document with a most recently updated date at the bottom. Any questions may be directed to our Board President, Laurie Weir.
Specific implementation strategies for this plan will be further outlined in an Operational Guide. The Operational Guide will be drafted upon completion of the Strategic Plan and will be overseen by our Executive Director, Kent Anderson.
- PROGRAMS – Realize full onsite and outreach program potential based on community needs.
- SUSTAINABILITY – Secure and maintain required financial resources that support the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as the premier nature education provider in the Sacramento region.
- PEOPLE – Continue to build an exemplary team of dedicated, passionate, and skilled individuals in a positive and productive work environment.
- PHYSICAL SITE/HABITAT – Enhance the physical and structural site to provide optimal use for visitors, staff, and animals.
- BOARD CAPACITY – Enhance the membership, skills, and diversity of the American River Natural History Association Board of Directors to set direction and provide oversight of the Natural History Association and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
Read the full 2021 – 2026 Effie Yeaw Nature Center Strategic Plan HERE
The American River Natural History Association’s financial affairs are supported by a finance committee, a professional bookkeeper and various experts on insurance and investments who volunteer their time. The American River Natural History Association is a financially secure organization enjoying broad community support. Other important committees include: Mission and Bylaws, Strategic Planning, Nominations, Fund Development, Media, and Facilities Improvement.