American River Natural History Association
The American River Natural History Association, a nonprofit membership organization, was founded in 1981 to support educational and interpretive activities in the American River Parkway in cooperation with the Sacramento County’s Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
In July, 2010, ARNHA was chosen by the County to take over operations and funding of the Effie Yeaw Nature Center and the 77-acre Nature Study Area that surrounds it.
We are committed to continuing the excellent, award-winning Nature Center programs that introduce thousands of school children each year to the beauty and diversity of the American River Parkway. Here visitors of all ages learn the importance of conserving and protecting our most precious natural resource.
We partnered with the American River Parkway Foundation and Save the American River Association and other stakeholders to create the American River Parkway Coalition. The coalition reacts to joint concerns and looks for ways to educate and involve Parkway users in the ongoing quest for short and long-term solutions.
2021 — 2026 Strategic Plan
The American River Natural History Association and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center are 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.
Strategic Plan Goals
- 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.
Implementation of Strategic Plan Goals
- Realize full onsite and outreach program potential based on community needs.
- Define and prioritize our target community audiences, including those we currently serve as well as the diverse communities we would like to serve. Assure sufficient staff and facilities capacity. Develop and deliver programs that meet their needs.
- Continue and expand our ability to provide low cost and free programming.
- Develop and implement an integrated marketing and community outreach plan, including the use of diverse media sources, for identified target markets in the Sacramento metropolitan region.
- Build strategic relationships with other organizations to foster increased recognition and participation in Nature Center programs in communities throughout Northern California.
- Research and implement systems and tools for measuring our program quality.
- Secure and maintain required financial resources that support the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as the premier nature education provider in the Sacramento region.
- Establish a five-year fund raising plan with annual implementation plans to assure sufficient monetary resources to maintain and expand the Nature Center’s programmatic mission.
- Implement management and administrative strategies to ensure the Nature Center’s organizational integrity and sustainability.
- Continually monitor financial status and set up management and administrative protocols in-line with best practice standards to ensure fiscal integrity and organizational sustainability.
- Continue to build an exemplary team of dedicated, passionate, and skilled staff and volunteers in a positive and productive work environment.
- Employ Executive Director, staff and volunteers that meet established high standards and qualifications and reward or acknowledge appropriately.
- Develop, mentor, and encourage employee professional growth.
- Continue to cultivate a culture that promotes creativity and performance excellence and ensures people feel valued and respected for their contributions.
- Enhance and protect the physical, structural, and natural site to provide optimal use for visitors, staff, and animals.
- Maintain and foster a strong partnership with the County of Sacramento and Department of Parks and Recreation, particularly regarding facility and grounds use and needs.
- Create a comprehensive Master Plan for the Effie Yeaw Nature Center physical site integrated with an interpretive site plan.
- Enhance the visitor experience by providing resources required for best access to program, site information, and comfortable, self-guided exploration of our site.
- Maintain and improve the working environment for staff, as well as the living environment and habitat for all animal ambassadors at the Nature Center.
- Protect and preserve the Nature Study Area to assure the sustainability of this natural resource into the future.
- Enhance the membership, skills and capacities of American River Natural History Association Board of Directors in order to set the direction and provide oversight of the Natural History Association and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center.
- Establish and maintain a board of directors that represents the diversity of our community, provides needed insights and skills, engages in board responsibilities, and contributes to financial viability of the organization.
- Establish expectations for board candidates, orient new members, pursue individual and group development opportunities for board members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate our own performance.
- Provide the Executive Director with regular performance feedback. Ensure the Executive Director has the moral and professional support needed to further the goals of the organization.
- Actively participate in the development of the strategic plan and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan’s goals.
- Secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission. Assist in the development of the annual budget and ensure proper financial controls are in place.
- Enhance the organization’s name recognition and public standing by presenting our goals and accomplishments to the public, and garner support from the community through advocacy.
The American River Natural History Association’s Annual General Meeting takes place the second Wednesday of September each year. Members enjoy an update on the year’s activities and successes, celebrate staff and volunteers, and participate in a short business meeting. Information on the Annual General Meeting is sent to members 20 days prior to the scheduled meeting.
The board meets at least 8 times per year on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, or virtually on-line if necessary.
Until the pandemic is passed and in-person meetings resume, all board meetings are held via zoom web conferencing. In order to provide interested parties with zoom meeting information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest at least 48 hours in advance of the scheduled meeting. This should allow sufficient time to provide the requested meeting information.
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.