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'All In' helps museum preserve natural history in Santa Maria

by Joshua D. Scroggin
December 13, 2017
Representatives from the museum and CoastHills pose with a check for $1,000 outside the museum entrance
CoastHills Call Center Supervisor Marigrace Ramones (center, holding check) presents representatives from the Natural History Museum of Santa Maria (from left) President Carlos Lesne, Co-Founder Virgina Souza, Docent Bill Decker, Docent Mark Robertson and Treasurer Brandon Lambert with a $1,000 donation courtesy of the Credit Union's employee giving program, "I'm All In."

A live camel is probably the last thing you expect to see while driving down McClelland Street in Santa Maria — but it happens more often than you might think.

That's because The Natural History Museum of Santa Maria, nestled in the historic Reuben Hart Home across from the public library, is dedicated to inspiring and educating the community about the world around them.  

The Natural History Museum, established in 1996, is entirely volunteer-led and runs solely on donations and grants. Thanks to community support, the organization is able to offer a number of exhibits on the local flora and fauna as well as family-friendly events and educational programs for the many school groups that rely on them for a hands-on learning experience.

About that camel? On the first Saturday of the month, they work with community partners like the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, Eyes In the Sky, and Conservation Ambassadors Zoo to You to bring live animals for different “Live! At the Museum” demonstrations.

However, because their building is 140 years old, the nonprofit is in need of some extra help to make some much needed renovations and update the exhibits. 

This is where Marigrace Ramones, CoastHills Call Center Supervisor, realized she could make a difference. 

Marigrace participates in the CoastHills employee giving program, “I’m All In.” She was recently selected to donate $1,000 to the nonprofit of her choice. That's how the program works. Donations are funded purely through voluntary contributions straight from the paychecks of Credit Union staff. Each quarter, names are drawn, and winners get to decide how the money is spent. 

Marigrace always knew that when she was chosen, she would support an organization that inspires others in her community to be as passionate about education as she is. When her daughter recently asked to visit the Natural History Museum of Santa Maria again, she knew exactly where her donation would make an impact. 

Thanks to community support like Marigrace’s, the museum will be closing on the first of the year with plans for a grand reopening and street fair to celebrate Earth Day 2018. While they’re closed, the organization will be renovating the floors, restoring windows and painting. Not only that, but they will be sprucing up existing exhibits and installing new ones — such as an outdoor weather kiosk and informational plaques in the native garden.

Interested in lending a hand? The Museum will be wrapping up the year with its 3rd Annual Holiday Night at the Museum celebration and fundraiser on Saturday, December 16th from 1 to 5 p.m. with family-friendly entertainment. They are currently seeking volunteers for the event, and are always interested in help for other events, programs, and outreach.

Passionate about education? The Museum relies upon docents — the dedicated volunteers that act as guides — to keep the doors open for the community. All you need to bring is your passion, and they’ll teach you everything you need to know.

Come into the museum to pick up a volunteer application or reach out to the Board of Directors through Facebook.

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Similar topics: We Make A Difference, I'm All In

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