On Tuesday afternoon November 18, a recorder’s rubber stamp at the County of Sonoma quietly closed a land protection chapter 20 years in the making. Fitch Mountain, a rock so resistant that Russian River currents could not wash it away, nor housing successfully climb its uppermost flanks, was purchased for future public parkland.
A union of no less than four groups were united by the dogged persistence of 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire to pull the deal together. First, Our County’s Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District provided funds to buy the land and seed funding for land stewardship. Second, the City of Healdsburg agreed to accept the property as a future public park. Third, the People of Healdsburg and beyond spoke with seeming unanimity in favor of saving the wildness of the mountaintop for its wildness and vistas and respite from the din of urbanized life. Last but not least, Land Partners Through Stewardship - better known as ‘LandPaths’ - agreed to own and steward the mountain until the City is able to take ownership in 2017.
We've found that our People Powered Parks model works because it encourages those who care the most and know the land the best to get involved in its stewardship. LandPaths will be particularly focused on mentoring local high school students to care for this future park through helping reduce fire fuel loads, build trails and enhance native species on site.
Please see the calendar page of our website for future guided hikes and stewardship days on the property. Everyone is invited to celebrate the protection of this beautiful open space at a Fitch Mountain Celebration sponsored by the Fitch Mountain Fund this Saturday, Nov. 22, at noon at the Villa Chanticleer on Fitch Mountain Road. Click for more info & to register:/eventdetails.aspx?EventId=22493
THANK YOU OWL CAMP DONORS
A special thanks to William H. Hurt Foundation and Amy's kitchen for their generous support of Owl Camp!
In addition we'd like to thank: Calpine Corporation, Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club, WLW Investment Trust, Jedd Parker, Alicia Nourse, Amy Booth, Andrea Record, Annette Musson, Arlene Weis, Clair Buck Werner, Craig Meltzner, Dante Benedetti, Forrest Jang, Gretchen Braren, James R. Greene, Jennifer Greene, Joan Hackeling, John W. Knight, Dan Nuebel, Lee McCarthy-Smith, Craig Anderson, Meg Porter Alexander, Marc Alexander, Margaret Hamill, Meg Beeler, Thomas Tersch, Jane M. Witkowski, Mirin Lew, Patricia Butler, Paula Hackeling, Richard Radcliffe, Sue Kavinoky, Rose Frances, Sophia hicks, Spring Maxfield, Steve Meacham, Steve Harper, Theresa Kelley, Tracy Mattson, Barbara Smoak, Donna Greer, Karen Thompson, Lee Hackeling, Abigail Zoger,& many anonymous donors!
THANK YOU OWL CAMP VOLUNTEERS
We'd like to extend a very special thanks to Jim & Betty Doerksen, co land-owners of Rancho Mark West (with LandPaths), land stewards, public access champions and naturalists, for their boundless support of Owl Camp in addition to many other LandPaths programs.
In addition we'd like to thank: Pepperwood Preserve, Friedman's, Western Farms, Bird Rescue Center, Richard Baril, Dolores Barrett, Kelly Simon-Coghlan, Cindy Duim, Jennifer Jaffe, Sara Ganas, William Heyman, Gabe Mulcaire, Chris Iverson, Randy Urry, John Branscome, Amanda Tuttle, Joanie Jay Bird, Stephen Knuttel, Lesaya Luna Moth Howard, Anthony Domenici, Daisy Schadlich, Jennifer Foege, Jim Moir, Jim Weathers, Linda Weathers, Matt Lopez Madrone
If you don’t see you name and you should please contact our office—we do not want to miss thanking you!
Owl Campers join Camp Leader Richard "Mapache" in song, sitting inside a traditional tipi that they raised themselves.
This year, Owl Campers joined together to raise a traditional tipi near the organic garden. The tipi was designated is as a safe place, a place for sharing stories and leaving your troubles just outside the door.
Campers gathered inside the tipi for morning circle and songs when the weather was chilly. The cozy, communal enclosure made for some of the most enjoyable, heartfelt, extended song circles in Owl Camp history. Apprentices (older campers taking on leadership roles) gathered small groups of younger campers inside the tipi for brief, nature-based "lessons," and kept their audiences spellbound. Two very energetic young campers, Kevin Kingsnake and Daniel Duck disappeared for a short while during free time one day. They were found in the tipi, respectfully and attentively fixing and adding fresh flowers to the cardinal direction altar in the middle of the circle.
Owl Camp offers a safe space where youth are encouraged to try on new ideas and take part in new experiences. Within the tipi, campers were introduced to a sense of reverence, a respect for quiet and ancient tradition. Kevin Kingsnake and Daniel Duck took these concepts to heart.
As Owl Campers work together to construct a tipi, to build a traditional, ceremonial drum, as they learn the basics of navigating a canoe or splash in creek swimming holes shared by steelhead fry, as they camp out for the first time alongside youth from all walks of life, they are building a connection to land that will only grow deeper in the years to come.
With the gracious support of the following donors, this year LandPaths raised $20,113 for Owl Camp tuition and transportation scholarships – exceeding our goal of $20,000! With those funds we provided 48 tuition scholarships to Owl Camp (nearly 40% of our camper body!) and a daily van service from Roseland each week for those campers most in need. We extend our gratitude to these donors for their help in ensuring that Owl Camp remains an opportunity available to ALL SONOMA COUNTY children year after year, regardless of socio-economic hurdles, and that our camper body is a true reflection of everyone who lives here in Sonoma County.
Many thanks to the following 2014 Owl Camp Donors:
A special thanks to William H. Hurt Foundation and Amy's kitchen for their generous donations! We'd also like to thank
Calpine Corporation, Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club, WLW Investment Trust, Jedd Parker, Alicia Nourse, Amy Booth, Andrea Record, Annette Musson, Arlene Weis, Clair Buck Werner, Craig Meltzner, Dante Benedetti, Forrest Jang, Gretchen Braren, James R. Greene, Jennifer Greene, Joan Hackeling, John W. Knight, Dan Nuebel, Lee McCarthy-Smith, Craig Anderson, Meg Porter Alexander, Marc Alexander, Margaret Hamill, Meg Beeler, Thomas Tersch, Jane M. Witkowski, Mirin Lew, Patricia Butler, Paula Hackeling, Richard Radcliffe, Sue Kavinoky, Rose Frances, Sophia hicks, Spring Maxfield, Steve Meacham, Steve Harper, Theresa Kelley, Tracy Mattson, Barbara Smoak, Donna Greer, Karen Thompson, Lee Hackeling, Abigail Zoger,& many anonymous donors!