Petaluma nature advocates have received a nearly quarter-million dollar grant for environmental education installations at Shollenberger Park.
The city last week learned that its grant with the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance for $213,500 in state parks funds was successful.
“It’s fantastic,” said Al Hesla, president of the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance. “It’s going to be great working with the city. They are totally behind it.”
The money will be used to construct a 50-seat outdoor amphitheater near the entrance to Shollenberger Park, as well as a covered kiosk with educational displays overlooking the juncture of Adobe Creek and the Petaluma River.
The amphitheater will provide a gathering place for third grade students and teachers taking part in the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance’s environmental educational program focused on the Petaluma watershed, Hesla said. The program, started in 2003, has provided an outdoor learning experience for more than 10,000 Petaluma school children.
Hesla said future plans for the amphitheater include outdoor nature lectures and concerts.
The educational kiosk at the confluence of the river and Adobe Creek will inform and inspire the public of the value of the Adobe Creek ecosystem, Hesla said. The kiosk’s informational material will be created by the United Anglers of Casa Grande High School, a student group working at the fish hatchery at the school. In addition, restoration of native plants will be included on the banks of Adobe Creek.
“It’s going to be really cool,” Hesla said. “It will be like the fishing pier nearby, right off the asphalt trail.”
Grant administrators must attend a state workshop before receiving the money. Once the funds are available, Hesla said construction could probably start in the fall and finish in spring of 2019.