Birds Find Sanctuary at Lake
1870, California designated Lake Merritt a state game refuge, the first
in the nation. The governor's dedication set its purpose "to educate and
inspire through understanding the values of conserving the natural
resources of this state." Located on the Pacific Flyway, the lake and
its five small man-made islands provide sanctuary food, and nesting
sites for local and migratory birds.
In pursuit of the educational mission, Paul Covel was hired by the City
to give talks to the public on the birds of the lake. He and William
Penn Mott, Oakland's visionary director of parks, could often be seen at
the shore introducing visitors to the joys of bird watching. In 1953,
Rotary Club #3 built the Rotary Nature Center to help visitors better
understand the lake's ecology and wildlife habitat. You can visit the
Nature Center Monday through Friday, from 10 to 5.
Friends of OPRCA
"Walk Along the Water"
© Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.
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Rotary Nature Center - City of
Oakland Parks and Recreation
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