Your road to nature has been made easier by a generous donation from Robinson Sand & Gravel, Auburn, CA. Thank you!

– Watershed Learning Center – 

Children follow a water drop through its lifecycle in an interactive exhibit. Are you a Stream-Keeper? Follow a tiny drop of water through its complete cycle, from precipitation to percolation. A miniature model of our own local watershed helps young and old minds alike understand how all things are linked by common water sources and how our actions can directly affect our own drinking water and the importance of protecting this valuable natural resource.

Placer Nature Center’s WaterShed programs define a watershed and engage students in exploration of water environments, the dynamics of water and conservation strategies. Our watershed education programs also travel off-site to schools in the region.

Grant funds from the Bureau of Reclamation and Placer County Water Agency support key elements of the WaterShed Learning Center, including the scale model of the American River Watershed, the interactive exhibits on display in the WaterShed and the water conservation demonstration pond.

ThreeWaterWayDetail FullRoomView-Watershed

 – Changing Lands Exhibit –

Filled with interactive exhibits showing how the land has changed naturally and by the hand of humans and naural phenomenon. 

Natural and cultural history displays trace the history of our local area from 70 million years ago. Hands-on activities include archaeology boxes, animal pelts and energy consumption.



– Discovery Room –

Although it does not currently have the living beehive in action, the Discovery Room is a great place for hands-on activities and exploration.

– The Garden –

Our garden is representative of Placer County Gardens of today and yesterday. It was first developed by the California Conservation Corps members and used for training of urban corps members. Today it is full of color, plants both native and ornamental and our composting center. If you stay long enough you will see plenty of nature’s critters going about their daily routine. It is a beautiful place to take a stroll, practice your knowledge of plant identification or bring a lunch and have a picnic. It has a working compost center for visitors to check out different ways to compost.



The following organizations and business has provided us with generous monetary and/or product donations for our education gardens. Thank you!

Smart Pot logo Vermicrop Logo Auburn Garden Club Logo CNPS

– First Peoples’ Village –

Placer Nature Center is on unceded Nisenan territory. The Nisenan are still not federally recognized. The Nisenan, also known as the Southern Maidu and Valley Maidu, are one of many native groups of the Central Valley. The name Nisenan, derives from the ablative plural pronoun nisena·n,  meaning “from among us”. Experience the traditional life of first peoples of the Sierra Foothills in our Village, where we have cedar bark houses, a shade structure and native plant garden. 

Learn more about the Nisenan and the Nevada City Rancheria Tribal Council here: California Heritage: Indigenous Research Project (chirpca.org)

The United Auburn Indian Community is comprised of both Miwok and Maidu Indians. The historic Auburn Rancheria is located in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Auburn, California. Learn more about the UAIC here: United Auburn Indian Community | About Us (auburnrancheria.com)


– Garrison’s Park – 

In collaboration with Boy Scouts of America Troop 13, located in Auburn, we dedicated a nature playscape area in memory of Bob Garrison, who was an amazing advocate for the environment and a visionary in the field of environmental education. It is a great place to play for children of all ages.


– Nature Trails –

Why not get a little exercise hiking our trails during your visit. If you can’t make the whole trail, don’t worry, we have shortcuts that bring you right back to where you started in no time. The scenery changes with the season. You can take a self-guided bird walk, thanks to donations from Union Pacific and the Sierra Foothills Audubon.

Arctostaphylos viscida, Manzanita PNC Trail Winter 09

-Rain Barrel-

A project located by the PNC Nature Shop by one of our volunteers – Julia Zasso.   For more information, click on and download links provided below.


PNC Barrel Exhibit PDF 

Rain Barrel Flyer PDF

Providing Environmental Education since 1991