The Chico Creek Nature Center's commitment to Bidwell Park education began in the mid-seventies by a coalition of environmental and recreation groups that offered nature programs and wildlife rehabilitation services. Wildlife rehabilitation is no longer offered by the Nature Center but we work closely with the Bidwell Wildlife Rehabilitation organization who heal and release hundreds of injured wild animals each year.
In 1991, our former Director Janeece Webb completed construction of the facility that houses our non-releasable living animal museum. Volunteers from the building community and many other in-kind donations were responsible for completion of this community-wide project. Once the site of a zoo in the 1950s and later a City of Chico public works refuse area, the Nature Center grounds were cleaned up and beautified with a native plant garden and benches in what now is Bear's Lair. The impressive makeover was accomplished through the volunteer efforts of Soroptomist International of Chico, the Mt. Lassen Chapter of the California Native Plant Society and a local boy scout troop. Bear's Lair is now a popular site for wedding ceremonies.
Howard S. Tucker Hall opened in Spring of 2010, and was designed to serve as a micro-version of Bidwell Park, highlighting in a single room the topography, geology, cultural history, flora, and fauna of Bidwell Park. The same building houses Kristie’s Nature Lab, a classroom for school programs and open lab days for the public.
In partnership with the City of Chico's Park Division of the General Services Department, the Center serves as the official information and education center for the public at large and regional school children.
The Center also offers many volunteer opportunities for CSUC and Butte College students on career educations paths. The Center's entrance by donation policy allows it to be used by the entire community, including local agencies serving the developmentally disabled. CCNC also offers nature camp scholarships to the economically disadvantaged.