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The Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center (CSERC) works to protect water, wildlife, and wild places across the Northern Yosemite region. The Center also strives to raise environmental awareness in young people and regional residents through creative outreach.
What happens to the Yosemite region truly matters to millions of people who cherish their connections to this iconic travel destination. The Northern Yosemite ecosystem includes national forest lands, private forest lands, and the foothill region that together provides the diverse habitat needed by many wildlife species that can be found within world-famous Yosemite Park. As the key defender of this region's impressive forests, deep river canyons, and the scenic oak woodlands of the foothills, CSERC has saved thousands of acres of old growth forest groves, has gained significant improvements in hundreds of development projects, and has evolved to become a key source of information for the region’s media. CSERC staff has used fieldwork, science, and innovative educational outreach to gain respect and credibility from local community leaders, agency officials, political decision-makers, and even those who generally oppose environmental regulations.
Over 22 years of persistent efforts, CSERC has evolved to become the main environmental force on a wide range of important issues affecting more than 2,000,000 acres.
Engaing the puclic is a key way that our Center helps to raise awareness about the environment in our region. Each year CSERC staff collaborates with U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management officials to identify at least ten restoration projects that are needed on the public lands of the local region. CSERC engages volunteers to join with the Center’s staff in cleaning up piles of trash, pulling invasive non-native weeds, re-planting denuded stream zones, restoring hillsides rutted by off-road-vehicles, maintaining barbed wire fences to protect damaged meadows, and building log rail fence exclosures to keep livestock out of wet meadows and fens that contain rare plants. Each restoration workday will provide 10 to 30 volunteers the opportunity to help repair damaged natural areas and to work as a team to make a difference for local public lands. These projects not only make a significant difference for important habitats on our public lands, they also raise the awareness of the volunteers who are involved, encouraging their stewardship of nature and aiding in the growth of their own environmental ethic.
- Julia Stephens
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