Friday, November 16 , 2018, 12:52 am | Fair 48º


Captain’s Log: Nature Center at Lake Cachuma Put on Great Fundraiser

The Neal Taylor Nature Center at Lake Cachuma has an awesome executive director in Julie McDonald. She keeps the Nature Center a place of exploration and discovery, drawing on the wealth of nature throughout the Santa Ynez River Watershed, which includes picturesque Lake Cachuma.

Once a year she organizes the center’s major fundraiser and she is wise to draw from the community’s love for fishing adventure.

This year again the event was a resounding success with more than $30,000 raised for the center, more than $5,000 awarded in cash prizes and better than $15,000 in donated merchandise prizes.

There was a small army of helpful volunteers to make it all happen, and 661 men, women and kids were registered in the annual benefit fish derby.

The lake was well-stocked with trout and the populations of bass, catfish, crappie and bluegill were all strong. The fishing derby ran from 6 a.m. April 21 and ended at noon April 22.

There were cash prizes awarded for numerous categories to make sure they were spread out between adults and kids or kids didn’t totally out-fish the adults, Lol!

Merchandise prizes were also awarded including a custom fishing rod made by Capt. Tiffany Vague of Hook, Line & Sinker in memory of her 16-year-old son Kaiden who passed away in February. Kaiden loved going to the Lake and visiting the Nature Center.

That custom rod was auctioned off for a tidy sum that benefited the Nature Center.

Educating people about the wonders of nature and specifically about our own local wild places is a noble venture and the Neal Taylor Nature Center does it well. If you are thinking about what nonprofits to help out, I recommend you give something to this awesome outfit.

Derby sponsors this year were:

Jean K. Schuyler, Herry DeWitt, Julia Wilkerson, Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, Dr. Sey Kinsell, Community West Bank, Denise “Denni” Anderson, MarBorg Industries, Inc., Rabobank, Hook, Line & Sinker, Been There Caught That, Fred Hall Shows, Knight Broadcasting, Inc., Rincon Broadcasting, LLC.

And of course the always appreciated “Anonymous.”

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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