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Style: Roseville Granite Bay Rocklin

Wildlife Heritage Foundation

10/01/2014 03:36PM ● By Morgan Cásarez

L-R: Ian Hoover, Amber Parmenter and Stella Wong – Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

Third-generation Lincoln resident Primo Santini says he’s always appreciated South Placer County’s rural attributes. Through the years, his experiences as a local business owner and City Council member have exposed him to both the positive and negative effects of expansion within a small town.

 “Life is about balance, and unbridled growth can degrade the very thing that drives the growth to begin with—the livability of an area,” he explains. “There is something about integrating open space into communities that invigorates them and quiets them at the same time. It absolutely makes them more livable.”

 Santini does his part to maintain that delicate balance by serving on the board of the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF), an accredited, non-profit land trust dedicated to protecting, enhancing and restoring open spaces and their inhabitants throughout California. Currently, WHF oversees nearly 100 properties covering more than 48,000 acres, including conservation easements that protect wildlife habitats and agricultural properties in perpetuity.

“Open space in general is a scarce natural resource that, without preservation, future generations will suffer beyond imagination,” WHF Executive Director, Patrick Shea, PhD, says. “Our work…is critically important to quality of life issues for everyone.”

 Since it was founded in 2000, WHF’s core values have included a dedication to science-based conservation and educational outreach in the form of labs, lesson plans, nature walks and field trips, all of which are provided to schools free of charge. According to wildlife biologist and WHF staff member Amber Parmenter, the organization’s educational efforts have served more than 2,000 children to date and continue to grow.

 “Since starting work at WHF,” she shares, “I have developed an increased awareness of the fragility of our open spaces and a deeper appreciation of the effort it takes to maintain quality habitat in such an urbanized landscape.” Going forward, Parmenter hopes to see the organization reach its goal of securing 100,000 acres of protected land; in addition to preserving land near pre-existing protected areas (and in “high priority wildlife movement and migration corridors”) with the help of local agencies and other conservation groups. “Habitat fragmentation,” she says, “is a major problem in California and leads to smaller, restricted populations of wildlife that are vulnerable to extinction.”

 Those interested in supporting WHF are encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation or attend its upcoming Salmon Celebration. The annual event will be held in Lincoln’s McBean Park on October 4 and aims to educate families about restoring Auburn Ravine’s salmon population.
 “In an area that’s becoming increasingly urbanized, these protected spaces and associated ecosystem services are invaluable to local communities,” Parmenter explains. “I feel a connection to nature and wildlife and [a] deep sense of responsibility to preserve the natural world for future generations.”
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