Good Morning Barbara and Fellow Kindred Spirits,
For the last two weeks it has been hard to get to the river and I dearly miss my river schmooze time. It’s actually curious how being so involved with the river has curtailed my meandering river sleuthing time. Then again I am really excited about all the activities that prevent my walks, because I am so convinced that they’ll benefit the river and the environment in the long run. This one project of many is really exhilarating: Donna Meyers, one of our new City Council members, and I talked about creating a Downtown Street Team(DST) Natural Resource Stewardship Pilot Program. We envisioned empowering the homeless community members with basic restoration skills to find jobs in the public and private sectors. So we drew up a plan, got the DST Director Greg Pensinger on board as well as the Park & Rec. Department and the City Manger Office.
Last week we had our first 2 days, which turned out amazing. The DST members asked really good questions and absorbed the material quickly. On the 2nd day they were able to identify various native plants, lay out a basic restoration work plan and embrace the restoration motto: bless the mess. One participant commented that restoration work required that she let go of her ‘tidy landscape is good’ approach. Donna & I envision that the DST members will be integrated into the river levee plant maintenance and that their skills/approach will benefit the vegetation and consequently the bird and wildlife habitats. For that future I gladly give up my beloved river walks plus it was a lot of fun to work with Donna for our deep mutual love: the environment and the river. Also it has been a truly great pleasure to co-work with all involved so smoothly and be so supported by the City Staff.
The other day I was trying to see if the BURROWING OWL had returned to the Seabright Beach cliff. I looked up at the Trestle bridge trees and was thrilled to see the OSPREY sitting on her branch. Her sight always gives me a sense of peace, because she signals that the river is feeding her and that all is well in her food cupboard. I wonder how she’ll react to the upcoming Trestle bridge construction, which will widen the path. As you can imagine I have been fiercely objecting to any Eucalyptus trees removal, whining continuously to Public Works that the trees HAVE TO BE PROTECTED for the various raptors, PEREGRINE FALCON, OSPREY, CORMORANTS, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS and GREAT BLUE HERONS. The start of the construction has been delayed for a month and is supposed to begin on Dec. 6th.
This will bring disruption to all of us, who frequent the river. Keep your fingers crossed that the construction goes as planned, avoiding time over-runs.
Last not least: are you a Sierra Club member? In that case I want to give you heads-up: in the beginning of December you’ll receive ballot mailer for the election of new Santa Cruz Executive Committee members. So take a look, mark your choices and send it off in time.
And to be perfectly honest: I love to get your vote… and so would Gillian Greensite, who has a long, dedicated environmental history.
Now I am off to the 3rd day of the Pilot Program and send you bright river future greetings, jane