December 19, 2008
The accredited museum is in danger of closing its doors due to the City of Chula Vista’s dire budget crisis. In an effort to draw public attention to the pending closure of the popular Chula Vista Nature Center, The Friends of the Chula Vista Nature Center have kicked off the “Sea of Support: Save the Chula Vista Nature Center” campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to raise money for the ongoing operation of the Nature Center, promote awareness to the many educational, environmental and conservation services the Center provides and gives the community an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to keeping the Nature Center open for business.
The first phase of the campaign kicked off last week with the announcement that an anonymous donor has committed to match dollar-for-dollar all money raised by December 31, up to $125,000. In an effort to maximize contributions, The Friends of the Chula Vista Nature Center have worked double time to organize the online campaign and plan a community fundraising event for December 28 in Bayside Park.
“It’s very much a grassroots effort. In this tough economic time, we are asking people to just donate what they can, even if it is a dollar, “ said Stephanie Kingston, Sea of Support Event Co-Chair. “However, it is with the promise they will email our request for help to ten people they know. With the matching grant even the smallest donation can make a difference.” Online donations can be easily made at www.savethechulavistanaturecenter.com or mail-ed to Friends of the Chula Vista Nature Center 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista, California, 91910.
The community fundraiser is set for Sunday, December 28 in Bayside Park from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Live musical performances by Grampadrew and other special guests, food, environmental organizations and “green” vendors such as I Love A Clean San Diego and Sustain Our Planet, kids activities including the South Bay Children’s Museum, raffle prizes and more will be part of the festivities. For a small donation, event participants can receive a “Sea Note” an 8.5 x 11 inch, ocean colored note with the silhouette of one of the many creatures that inhabit the Nature Center. Participants can sign their name and write a message of commitment for the Chula Vista Nature Center. Event organizers will collect the notes and present them to the City Council at the January 6 meeting.
Kingston said over 15,000 school children visit the Nature Center annually as a part of their classroom science studies. A dedicated teacher from Chula Vista Elementary School is on-site to help students learn about the environment, conservation and science. The internationally recognized center is also well-known for its successful captive breeding program of the endangered Light-footed Clapper Rail.
The Nature Center, a zoo/aquarium refuge along San Diego Bay, is one of the many programs and services proposed for City budget reductions. The Chula Vista City Council is considering cuts in staff and facilities in an effort to close a $4 million gap in the current budget and a $20 million shortfall projected for next fiscal year. Council will decide the fate of the Chula Vista Nature Center at their January 6 meeting.