American River National History Association

The American River Natural History Association, a nonprofit membership organization, was founded in 1981 by concerned citizen volunteers to support educational and interpretive activities in the American River Parkway in cooperation with the Effie Yeaw Nature Center ran by Sacramento County.

In July, 2010, the Natural History Association 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.

Annual Membership Meeting

The American River Natural History Association’s Annual Membership Meeting is held each September at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center. 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.

Board of Directors Meetings

The American River Natural History Association is led by the Board of Directors. The Board meets at least eight times per year on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, or virtually on-line if necessary.

Board Members

See below for a list of our current Board Members.  Please click on the name for a brief biography of each member.

Photo of Laurie Weir

Laurie Weir

Board President

Photo of Neil Brown

Neil Brown

Vice President

Photo of Ed Smith

Ed Smith

Vice President

Photo of Bill Spaller

Bill Spaller


Photo of Greg Knox

Greg Knox


Photo of Robin Kren

Robin Kren


Photo of Bud Banker

Bud Banker

Photo of Carye Colangelo

Carye Colangelo

Photo of Randy Getz

Randy Getz

Photo of Chuck Halnan

Chuck Halnan

Photo of Greg Knox

Diana Wallace

Photo of Margaret Leavitt

Margaret Leavitt

Mission and Bylaws of the Natural History Association

The American River Natural History Association is a 501c3 nonprofit public benefit corporation whose purpose is to conduct, promote, aid, and augment educational and interpretive activities about the natural and cultural histories of the Sacramento region, principally in the American River Parkway, the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and the educational facilities of other organizations and agencies along the lower American River.  We are governed by the Bylaws of the Association, available here.

Strategic Plan

The Board of Directors adopted a Strategic Plan in 2021 that provides focus and direction for the Board and staff’s activities.  The complete Plan can be found here.

The Goals of the Plan include:

  1. PROGRAMS – Realize full onsite and outreach program potential based on community needs.
  2. SUSTAINABILITY – Secure and maintain required financial resources that support the Effie Yeaw Nature Center as the premier nature education provider in the Sacramento region.
  3. PEOPLE – Continue to build an exemplary team of dedicated, passionate, and skilled individuals in a positive and productive work environment.
  4. PHYSICAL SITE/HABITAT – Enhance the physical and structural site to provide optimal use for visitors, staff, and animals.
  5. 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.

Financial Oversight

The American River Natural History Association is a financially secure organization enjoying broad community support.  The Association’s finances are overseen by the entire Board, the Executive Director, staff, a professional bookkeeper, and a Certified Public Accountant.  The Board approves the organization’s budget and tax filings annually.

Annual Reports

The Natural History Association provides Annual Reports on the activities and accomplishments of the organization.  The Association also submits all required tax filings annually.  These reports and filings can be found here.

Board Committees

The American River Natural History Association Board of Directors has organized Committees to carry out important work needed to accomplish Board obligations and the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan.  The Natural History Association’s efforts are supported by the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, Nominations Committee, Fund Development Committee, and Media Committee.

Associate Members

An Associate Board performs specific services, and may  represent the Natural History Association in a liaison position to other agencies and organizations. Our current Associate Board Members are:

  • Betty Cooper
  • Bud Getty
  • Joey Johnson
  • Bruce Kennedy
  • Peggy Kennedy
  • Hunter Merritt
  • Beryl Michaels
  • Don Mongeau
  • Diana Parker
  • Kip Skidmore
  • Betsy Weiland
Share This