April 22, 2011
Thanks to each and every one of you who have done something this past week to support our State Parks. Whether is was visting your favorite park, contacting our legislators, signing up to volunteer or making a donation, each act of support is what will help us get through these unprecidented times.
It is really important to mention that organizations that have been working to Save our State Park over the past three years, are still keeping the goal of a sustainable funding source for State Parks in the forefront of our minds. After the defeat of Proposition 21 in November, we are re-thinking how best to achieve this long-term goal. It’s unfortunate that we are now distracted with having to come up with short-term solutions to keeping our parks open in the meantime.
Stewards will do what we can to support efforts at Annadel, Sugerloaf and Jack London State Parks with a consortuim of other nonprofit organizations. We are also working in partnership with the Fort Ross Interpretive Association on ways to raise awareness about all the State Parks in the Russian River District. The Fort is currently only open 2 days a week. We will be focusing most of our limited resources on Austin Creek State Recreation Area and the service reductions at Sonoma Coast State Park.
I am very pleased to report that our New Volunteer Orientation on Saturday was attended by a group of enthusiastic folks who are very motivated to get involved with volunteering in the parks supported by Stewards. As I have said many times, volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization and we offer something fulfilling for everyone.
Those that attended the Wildflower and Grasses EcoAdventure Saturday at Sonoma Coast (despite the windy conditions) had a chance to get up close and personal with an amazing variety of plants blooming at Shell Beach right now: mule ears, yarrow, dandelions, scarlet pimpernel, tiny geraniums, buttercups, checkerbloom, mustard & little grasses. Participants got to view these native plants with hand lenses and Papilio binoculars. Thanks to Hollis Bewley for providing a wonderful interpretive experience.
I am honored to mention a generous donation that we received this week from the Family of Owen and Virginia Keech Bird. Their family has been inspired by our local State Parks for many years. I am very excited to work with them on an exciting tribute to their parents at Armstrong Redwoods. They have also agreed to launch a giving challenge with their $5,000 lead gift. We invite you to join the challenge and help Stewards raise $50,000 in donations in the next four months. All monetary support from our special events, as well as, memberships, donations and sponsorships will help us reach our goal. Contact me at for ways that I can make a larger contribution meaningful for your family.
With everyone working together we will preserve our State Parks for future generations.