by Jennifer Parks
During the winter months in the San Lorenzo Valley we face serious air quality issues that are caused largely by smoke from wood stoves. Unfortunately, it has gotten so bad that the air quality in the SLV frequently violates the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for acceptable air quality.
I’m part of a group providing citizen input to Bruce McPherson and the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District to come up with solutions to this difficult problem.
We believe that SLV residents can really help make significant improvements in air quality if they just become more aware of the issue, and realize the importance of not using wood stoves on “Spare the Air Days*” (if they have any other source of heat), and also to burn “cleanly” whenever they do burn. (This means using only dry, aged wood; not dampening down; and not burning garbage or other materials).
One idea that seemed like a positive way to create awareness was to have an Art Contest for SLV children – so we decided to do it!
We needed some sponsorship for the Art Contest. As a member of the Environmental Committee, I turned to it, and we were very fortunate that the Valley Women’s Club, together with the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District have sponsored the prizes and expenses for the flyers.
The San Lorenzo Valley School District was extremely supportive in facilitating the Art Contest and assisted me in distributing flyers with the details of the contest to students at the elementary, middle and high schools.
The art contest closed on October 9th, and the winners were announced at the SLV School District Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 21 at 6:00pm. Supervisor Bruce McPherson presented the awards and Nancy Macy attended to represent Valley Women’s Club.
Please note! You can help reduce pollution too! * Citizens can be notified by email when “Spare-the-Air” days occur by signing up to receive messages here. When these days occur, air quality is expected to be especially unhealthful (usually due to weather conditions that will suppress smoke in the SLV area), so residents are encouraged not to burn wood stoves, and use other sources of heat.