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In The News…

Water - The Foundation of All Life

By Louis Haynes, Public Affairs Specialist, Modoc National Forest
April 8, 2003

River Center
The River Center couples professional displays with current watershed information for visitors interested in how watersheds work and the opportunities in watersheds today.

Alturas, California
You know your address, but do you know your watershed? The public, teachers, and government organizations have opened the spillways of education by providing a facility that takes an in-depth look at the Upper Pit River Watershed and the many contributions watersheds make to the land, communities and people.

On May 1st from 4-6 pm a grand opening ceremony will mark the end of a three-year planning cycle and the opening of the "River Center" at 136 West Henderson Street in Alturas. The River Center's mission is to showcase the Natural Resources in Modoc County by developing an appreciation for how a watershed affects and benefits the community.

River Center
Native Birds highlight the rich diversity of wildlife within the Pit River Watershed.

Professional displays and local information are not the only benefits associated with a trip to the River Center. Visitors will encounter displays showing the diversity of animals, plants, fish, birds and trees that inhabit their watershed. In the research center students will perform hands on activities such as dissecting owl pellets, growing native plants, searching the internet for natural resource information, discovering the life that exists in local river water through the lens of a microscope or testing Pit River water samples for water quality.

The first class to visit the River Center was the third grade class from Cedarville, California. As a part of their "River Center" experience, the students received classes on the never-ending cycle of water, the diversity of Modoc County agriculture and the native animals and fish inhabiting the Pit River Watershed such as the Rainbow Trout that occupy a tank at the River Center.

River Center
Laura VanAcker, Education Coordinator, describes the anatomy of an owl to students.

Designed to become a destination for watershed information, the River Center contains a library of resource information for the public interested in understanding the opportunities to improve the health of the Pit River Watershed. Current watershed enhancement activities taking place on private and public land will be showcased.

Information will be available to the public about partnership opportunities such as grants and contact information for other organizations seeking to promote projects to enhance the Pit River Watershed.

River Center
Students aided by Shannon Ludwig, a wildlife biologist with the Modoc National Wildlife Refuge dissects owl pellets as the science portion of the River Center experience.

Paula Fields, the River Center Education Coordinator, stated, "Watching the ideas develop on paper and transform into the beautiful displays, providing educational opportunities for students, and increasing public awareness and building partnerships that will enhance the Pit River Watershed has made this a remarkable journey, a journey that will continue with our grand opening on May 1st."

The River Center's hours of operation will be from 9:00 to 4:00, Monday through Friday. Weekend tours are available by appointment. To schedule your "River Center" experience contact Paula Fields at (530) 233-5085.

River Center
Students wait in anticipation waiting for the science section of their visit to the River Center to begin.

Partners that assisted with the development, design and construction of the River Center included the Modoc County Office of Education, State Water Resources Control Board, Modoc National Wildlife Refuge, Modoc National Forest, Devil's Garden Conservation Camp, US Fish a nd Wildlife Service, Pit River Watershed Alliance, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, North Cal Neva Resource Conservation & Development, the Migratory Bird Festival Committee and members from the community-at-large.

Schedule your River Center experience today!