Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards), formerly known as Stewards of Slavianka, is a non-profit, environmental and interpretive organization that works in partnership with California State Parks in the Russian River Sector of the Sonoma Mendocino Coast District to support volunteer, education and stewardship programs. We are comprised of an active 10-15 member Board of Directors, Executive Director, Administrative Director, Programs Manager, Volunteer Coordinator, administrative staff, Field Operations staff and a membership of over 850 supporters. There are approximately 90 other associations like Stewards throughout the State of California. Each association has a contractual relationship with State Parks and operates on State Park property to fulfill their mission.
Stewards was launched in the early 1980s with grassroots environmentalists and State Parks staff working together. The Russian River District Cooperating Association, Stewards of Slavianka, was incorporated as a non-profit public benefit corporation in 1985. Stewards began with two programs, Seal Watch and Whale Watch on the Sonoma Coast State Park (SP) beaches. By 1987, volunteers had organized themselves at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (SNR) where they opened a small visitor center and began leading nature walks. In 1990, the volunteers saw their dream of a new visitor center become a reality when a trailer was purchased for this purpose. In 1992, Stewards funded a new visitor center at Salt Point State Park overlooking spectacular Gerstle Cove. In 1997, Stewards began operating the visitor center in Jenner, overlooking the Russian River estuary. In 2003, Stewards’ members voted to change the name in order to increase funding and volunteer support through greater name recognition.
Our vision is to be the link between people and their parks. We provide the public with opportunities for personal inspiration, satisfaction and nurturing of spirit and intellect through environmental stewardship programs.
Today, Stewards has expanded its support to include: operating Austin Creek State Recreation Area, new environmental educational programs for a diverse population of park visitors; maintenance and revitilization of State Park visitors centers and historic sties; acquisition and restoration of natural habitats on park lands; and vital advocacy efforts.
We support a diverse range of programs designed for school children and the general public, including: marine education, campfire programs, Junior Ranger activities, guided redwood ecology nature walks, watershed, cultural history and tidepool education programs. We continue to work to expand the "Volunteers in Parks" (VIP) programs through recruitment and training to provide high quality interpretation for park visitors. In 2015, we purchased a step van, which we have converted into our Mobile Marine Education Van or "Steward Ship." This mobile facility visits schools, special events and the Sonoma Coast on weekends.
Stewards provides volunteer support and funding for education and resource management. We have funded restoration efforts in the Fife Creek watershed in Armstrong Redwoods SNR and Austin Creek State Recreation Area (SRA), as well as a large scale restoration effort in the Willow Creek watershed, which is part of Sonoma Coast SP.
We are working towards upgrading and building new interpretive facilities. Our future plans include a capital campaign to raise money to build new Visitors Centers in Armstrong Woods SNR and the Sonoma Coast SP.
Renovating the Pond Farm Pottery, a significant cultural site in Ausitn Creek State Recreation Area, has developed an innovative partnership. California State Parks, the California State Parks Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation have joined Stewards with the hope that our success at Pond Farm can be used as a model for struggling historic sites and state parks in California and across the country.
Stewards continues to advocate for support for our State Parks. We are currently working on new partnerships with State Parks and ways to develop a sustainable funding source.
Stewards is also committed to helping State Parks open the entire Willow Creek area for public use.
Stewards sponsors interpretive seminars and naturalist-led tours, hikes, bike rides, kayak trips and other events.
We participate in local community events:
We promote fundraising activities:
Besides California State Parks, Stewards works in partnership with the following agencies and organizations: