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At Tucker Sanctuary, It's Back-to-Nature Time

August 31, 2003

Re "Refuge Needs a Steady Hand," Editorial, July 27:

Because the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon has been a valuable educational resource over the years, there has been understandable concern over the closing of the facility, as noted in your recent editorial. Cal State Fullerton shares that concern.

This summer we hired Karon Cornell, an experienced community and government relations administrator, as the new director and Birkin Newell as the new on-site manager. Newell grew up in the area, has extensive experience working with schoolchildren and has excellent academic credentials as a naturalist and ecologist.

Necessary repairs for public safety have been made, and we will reopen the facility to the public Monday. The university is fully committed to continue to make the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary the place for visitors to experience the wonders of nature.

Hundreds of people came from all over Orange County to attend a Mars viewing at Tucker two nights last week. We were delighted to provide telescopes and university experts to help people experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

We are committed to working with the community and will invite representatives from the canyon and the Audubon Society to join a new advisory board, which will include Cal State Fullerton faculty members and administrators. Another body, an advisory council of faculty members who have an interest in the sanctuary, will be formed to advise on appropriate curriculum and research that can be conducted there.

Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary has helped introduce thousands of Orange County schoolchildren to an up-close look at the trees, plants, birds and other creatures that are part of this unique preserve.

We invite the public to come by and get reacquainted with the quiet beauty that surrounds this area. The facility will open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Kolf O. Jayaweera

Dean of the College of Natural

Sciences and Mathematics

Cal State Fullerton

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