Wildlife Sanctuary Turns 50

By Mike Taylor

June 27, 2017 - 01:41 PM

Mt. SAC celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Wildlife Sanctuary on April 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new bridge, presentations by college staff, and tours.

A special recognition was given for biological sciences professor and sanctuary director Craig Petersen, who has served as director since 1981.

Fifty years ago, the 10 acres of marshy land owned by the college at the intersection of Temple and Grand was set aside as a preserve. With the biology department taking the lead, the area was fenced off, gravel paths were laid out, and wooden bridges were built. Ponds were formed out of the marsh area. A few non-native pines were planted to provide cover, and for the most part, the site was left alone to proceed naturally.

Over the years, the area became a refuge for all manner of creatures—including the great blue heron, owls, crayfish, raccoons, coyotes, and deer. Native species of plants dominated. Tours were given for elementary school students and community groups, and the sanctuary literally became the biology department’s outdoor classroom, which has been used by other departments as well.

To this day, the Wildlife Sanctuary remains an oasis of nature in a desert of suburbia, free for all to enjoy. Group walking tours are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Happy anniversary Wildlife Sanctuary!

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