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Dear Members and Friends of the Valley Women’s Club,
As we come to the end of 2022, we are pleased to bring you the Annual Recap of the work accomplished by the VWC this year. Below you can read directly from the Chair or Director of each Project. We sincerely hope you will consider joining the work of the Valley Women’s Club, renew your annual membership, donate to the projects of your interest, and even consider joining the Board. The Annual Meeting will be held on March 19th, 2023, at the Highlands Park Senior and Community Center. Mark your new calendars. We hope to see you in person then!
The VWC comprises the Environmental Committee, the SLV Native Habitat Committee, the Estuary Program, and the Women’s Solutions Committee, which presently includes the Caregivers Support Program and the Motivational Dance Program. Also, the Education Committee, Scholarship Committee, and the Teachers Grant Program which is new in 2022. The Legacy of Trees is our Fund Development arm, highlighting our incredible donors from Seedling to those climbing to the top of the Cathedral Redwood Grove with their generous donations. The Board of Directors consists of the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and individual Board Members who work together to make the Club function. In addition, the Marketing Committee, a Volunteer Program, a Database/Membership Program, are included. We are also the ‘Fiduciary Parents’ of the Redwood Mountain Fair, which the VWC started in 1980 and is now run by a Steering Committee.
The Environmental Committee had a challenging year, with a special focus on a particularly bad piece of legislation (SB 396) that – after weeks of research, composing dozens of letters and Op-Eds, and working with hundreds of others to rally support – was defeated in the last day of the Senate’s session. SB 396 would have expanded the destructive feeling of tens of thousands of healthy, mature trees to “protect” PG&E’s antiquated, unsafe power lines when the giant utility should have been comprehensively modernizing its infrastructure as So Cal Edison has been doing successfully. Other important issues of concern and hard work by EC Members included: involvement in the effort to improve Big Basin Water District’s management; public outreach, including working to defeat Measure D to protect the future of railroads in the County and in the SLV, and participation in the Redwood Mountain Faire and the effort to improve safety in the Hwy 9 corridor. We held the first virtual Environmental Town Hall featuring Assemblymember Mark Stone’s update on environmental issues at the State level affecting up); holding a very successful SLV River & Road Clean Up – more than doubling participation and the volume of materials collected over 2021’s totals; working to assure the SLV Water District’s prioritization of the health of threatened Steelhead and other salmonid species; working with the Friends of SLV Water on various issues; and co-sponsoring the Second Recycle into Art Contest with the Highlands Park Senior and Community Center -originator of the wonderful event. The focus on PG&E is continuing with a new effort to entice the County to renegotiate its Franchise Agreement and more. If you are interested, please join the committee.
The Redwood Mountain Faire was an enormous success this past June. Hallie Green and her fantastic team pulled it off on the ending edge of the pandemic. The music was phenomenal, the food excellent, and the lavation plentiful. The effort of the Volunteers is absolutely amazing. The Valley Women’s Club Booth shared its space with other participating nonprofits, including ENCOMPASS, who gave out hundreds of Covid Test Kits. If you missed the Faire, you even missed the little bit of that glorious liquid called RAIN, which did not deter the attendance or the fun! Grateful appreciation to all the volunteers and the profit distribution to the participating nonprofits. Read more about the history of the Faire.
The SLV Native Habitat Restoration Committee (NHRC) came out of COVID isolation ready to continue the work on projects that lay dormant during the pandemic. Work began in the spring with the planting of the Demonstration Native Plant Garden at the Senior and Community Center and the refreshing of the Memorial Garden. These gardens will mature with time.
Following the design of the bridge constructed in 2016 by the VWC and that year’s AmeriCorps team, the VWC provided funding for Eagle Scout, Brendan Mullhall, to build a kiosk in the Memorial Garden. The posting of educational information regarding native habitat restoration, as well as the identification of the native flora and fauna of the SLV, will allow community residents and visitors to Highlands Park to deepen their understanding of the surrounding ecosystems and how to create native habitat environments of their own.
In keeping with the mission of the NHRC to increase the diversity of native flora and fauna in the SLV, the NHRC will begin an environmental restoration program, which will meet at the Senior Center on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9-11 am. Environmental Volunteers will learn restoration skills and techniques related to ecological stewardship while restoring the area around the Senior Center. You will find the schedule for the program posted on the VWC and Native Habitat Restoration Program websites.
The VWC Board was approached by a Lompico resident and VWC member seeking support in restoring the Lompico Pond. The NHRC will work alongside the Lompico Community to provide guidance and tools to remove invasive plants and restore the habitat surrounding the Pond. In addition, the Pond has an encircling wide walking path and the potential to create a beautiful community gathering area. You will be able to follow the progress of this restoration on the SLV Native Habitat Restoration Program website, which will photo document the evolution of this project.
In 2021/2022, the VWC’s Native Habitat Restoration Program’s “San Lorenzo River Estuary Re-vegetation Project,” aka Estuary Project (EP), continued its successful restoration efforts at five San Lorenzo River estuary sites, located between Laurel St. bridge and the river mouth. The EP’s monthly workdays average 13 volunteers, a diverse mix of residents, UCSC/High School students, church groups, and houseless DST members, amounting to 342 hrs., including an additional event. The EP volunteer events always include information on why and how our work benefits the river habitats, as well as explaining the importance and value of observed wildlife sightings. 2022 required extra hand watering of over one hundred and twenty (120) new native plants due to very low coastal precipitation intensifying the drought condition. It is worth noting that every EP event receives public praise via verbal acknowledgment, car honks, and many thumbs-up signs.
For the past year, the Women’s Solutions Committee has cautiously made few public offerings as we navigated the second year of the Covid Epidemic. Roger continued to participate in Vax the Valley clinics, where it made a significant difference for Valley residents to receive vaccinations close to home. Sheila attended the County Women’s Commission meetings. Questions and ideas from SLV are most welcome to the Commission and Committee. Barbara and Rainne held our first Caregiver Support Group meeting at our office at the Highlands Senior and Community Center. You can read more about it in Barbara’s report below. Connie DeNault held the Isadora Duncan Workshop this fall and plans a program for the Spring. The Committee recognizes that one of the epidemic’s lessons is the need to gather and share. We look forward to 2023 for more of these types of activities.
The first Caregivers Support Meeting since the pandemic was held on November 3rd at our VWC office at the Highlands Park Senior and Community Center. Fourteen people attended to hear Jill Ginghofer, longtime Alzheimer’s director, describe the different types of dementia. Specific Caregiver’s questions were addressed, and provided with suggestions, information, and references. In December, Hospice and its services will be discussed. Many caregivers have questions about when to call Hospice and what to expect. In January, Carol Childers will speak on the Meals on Wheels programs. If you are a caregiver to a friend or family member, you are welcome to attend meetings at 2:00 p.m. on the first Thursdays of the month. Please join us for this valuable information Program.
This year the VWC provided two scholarships to San Lorenzo Valley High School Students, and one of our incredible members donated the seed funds for the Fred and McPherson Teachers Grant Program. The criterion for this grant is based on our Mission Statement, as is all the work of the VWC:
The Valley Women’s Club is dedicated to community action, awareness, and leadership in environmental, educational, social, and political concerns that affect the health and welfare of the San Lorenzo Valley and our community. Next Spring, we will distribute the McPherson Grant Application throughout the SLV Schools to provide funds for teachers’ creative projects.
To our Members and Donors, we can’t Thank You enough for your generosity and interest. We hope you think we are meeting your needs and informing you of our efforts. If you have ideas for projects or other activities which work with our mission and goals, we hope you will let us know. You can always reach us using our Contact Us form.
It has been an interesting challenge to have been the President of the VWC these past two traumatic years. As we approach the 45th Anniversary of the VWC in April of 2023, I look forward to meeting you and getting to know you. To promote the work of the Board and the many volunteers who help to keep our beautiful Valley retain the uniqueness we all appreciate and the reason we chose to live here. With your help, we will reach out to those who have recently moved into the community to join the VWC our Projects and Mission.
President of the Valley Women’s Club