During the average school year, Taylor Creek Visitor Center hosts over 150 students per day to connect classroom curriculum with direct experience with the local aquatic life. One of the highlights of the experience is the Taylor Creek Stream Profile Chamber. When the glass of this underwater viewing chamber broke during routine cleaning last season, staff worried that this educational tool would be lost. Fortunately, help from the Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Blue Vodka ensured its replacement.
“For decades, students and families have come from all over to connect with Taylor Creek,” said Jerry Keir, Executive Director of the Great Basin Institute and the Interpretative Association for the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, a U.S. Forest Service Facility. “The stream profile chamber has been an essential experiential learning opportunity for the K-12 community, and we’re so thankful this grant from the Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Blue Vodka can restore it.”
The glass broke last May, and, unable to secure funding for replacement, the staff at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center had been forced to close the stream profile chamber for the season. The Institute requested assistance from the Tahoe Fund for the repair, and the nonprofit stepped in to solve the problem with support from Tahoe Blue Vodka. Funding for the glass replacement came from this partnership, a joint effort that also provided a large part of the funding needed for the recently completed viewing platform, the Taylor Creek Overlook.
The Taylor Creek Steam Profile Chamber allows visitors to get an up-close underwater view of the spawning Kokanee salmon each year. “This is a beloved facility,” said Jeff Marsolais, Forest Supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “Without the shared stewardship by our partners, we simply could not re-open the Stream Profile Chamber this year.”
“Taylor Creek continues to be a special part of the Tahoe community and an important piece of wildlife education in the South Lake community,” Tahoe Blue Vodka Founder Matt Levitt said. “We’re excited to help get the chamber back up and operational so that visitors can continue to learn about what’s happening not only above the water, but below it, too.”
With help from these partners, the glass has been installed and once again the doors will open. This year the Center celebrates its 50th anniversary with a variety of guided hikes, special events, and educational programs. Under a USFS cooperative agreement, the Great Basin Institute operates the Visitor Center to advance its mission of environmental research, education, and service. The Visitor Center is open from Memorial Day weekend through October. To learn more about activities, visit the LTBMU website, www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ltbmu or call the Center at (530) 543-2600.