Hello to everyone on this beautiful day in the San Lorenzo Valley! We are so very lucky to live here, and to share in the celebration of three remarkable people whose love for this region and its people have improved so many lives. They are ideal recipients to be honored in the names of Annette Marcum and Mary Hammer.
Talitha Stills, known as TAI, has a long history of working and volunteering in the not-for-profit sector, early on with environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club Palo Alto Chapter and later the Sierra Club National Headquarters. She was Executive Director for Marin Discoveries, the Terwilliger Nature Education Center, in San Rafael. And THAT was before she moved to the San Lorenzo Valley, where her love of the environment, her love of music, and her desire to serve the community, provided dozens of opportunities for her to share her time and skills.
From the moment Tai joined the VWC Environmental Committee, she was a powerhouse of ideas and creative energy. Her background and experience, and her passion for protecting and restoring the environment, were continually helpful as efforts were made to reach more people and inspire them to live respectfully on the land.
Tai helped inspire the formation of, and helped lead the organization and implementation of, the Watershed Festival of Events. This Festival was a multi-year outreach effort, starting in 2001 and going through 2010. The Festival had many facets, including creating a series of factual and entertaining brochures that were mailed to every SLV resident, providing informational hikes led by a wide variety of experts — including “auto-tours” for disabled individuals, producing a set of informational photo displays still in use, and presenting a series of in-depth workshops and forums that brought up-to-the-minute information on significant environmental topics to hundreds of attendees.
Tai wrote a series of successful grant proposals to fund the Watershed Festival of Events and the brochures, including one for $33,000 from the State Department of Fish and Game, and others from the Cultural Council, the Santa Cruz County Fish and Game Commission, and the SLV Water District.
Using her understanding of PR and media, and her talent for writing and production, Tai designed the series of four brochures that were mailed to every resident. The brochures included the San Lorenzo Watershed, A Homeowner’s Guide to Septic Systems, Why Erosion Control Is Important, and Non-point Source Pollution. These brochures have been updated under her guidance, and are still being distributed by the VWC and other regional environmental organizations.
Tai has been active on the VWC’s Environmental Committee, and taken a leadership role in many of its projects, for over 12 years. She has helped staff the sign-in/weigh-in tables at the River & Road Clean up for the past ten years, helped with the information booth at Earth Day in Santa Cruz in previous years, and has researched and composed letters on important issues for the Committee, including arguments against methyl iodide, land use issues and watershed protection.
Tai helped initiate and produce the annual “Environmental Update” community meeting, where our State Assembly Member comes to Felton Community Hall to provide an update on environmental legislation and State issues that impact our region.
Last year Tai designed a cartoon leaflet to remind smokers to keep their cigarette butts out of the streets and off the ground so they won’t end up in the waterways poisoning wildlife, for The Butt Stops Here, the Environmental Committee’s on-going effort to reduce cigarette butt pollution.
A couple years ago Tai was moved by a presentation by Dr. Kerry Kreiger, founder of Save The Frogs, that the Environmental Committee sponsored at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Tai became involved in Save the Frogs, and is now serving on its Board of Directors as Treasurer. Last September she put on a major fundraiser – a Frog Art Show featuring 250 pieces of art, 60 of which Tai personally mounted and framed for the event.
The environment has not been Tai’s only focus. Music, and its importance to people of all ages, has also benefited. Tai was Director of the Young At Heart Project in 2008 and 2009, managing the non-profit organization and raising funds to provide musicians to perform at local convalescent hospitals and senior care facilities, at no cost to the facilities. Thousands of seniors have been diverted and entertained through this program.
Tai was co-producer on a major fundraiser for music and musicians in Santa Cruz County, putting in many dozens of hours and raising thousands of dollars. This was in April, 2011. Tai brought a showing of the extraordinary documentary, “Legends of the Canyon: Music and Magic of 1960’s Laurel Canyon,” to raise funds for the Digital Media Factory. She brought Henry Diltz, the photographer whose images are featured in the film, along with his narration, to the delight of attendees at the sold-out event.
Most recently, Tai joined the Redwood Mountain Faire Steering Committee, undertaking the management of the Meadow and Creekside Stages, and coordinating the logistics for the 21 bands’ performances at the Faire, for each of the past two years. Tai handled the task of renting and arranging for installation of the stages, as well as contracting for sound techs and equipment. She then brought together and managed the large backstage crew that assured the 21 bands, and all their equipment, could perform efficiently, helping make the Faire an enormous success.
Tai is being honored with the Hammer-Marcum Award because she believes in the importance of community education and participation to protect and enhance the environment, and has actively worked for that here for our beautiful watershed. She is committed to working in support of non-profit organizations so that they may provide special services to the community. And, she is being honored for her belief that creating ways for us all to understand and honor the environment, and providing opportunities to share and support music and musicians, works wonders for people and makes our community a better place to be.
Jeri Green-Oneto and Bruce Oneto’s years of service to the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz County communities demonstrate an extraordinary level of concern and caring, dedication and generosity, and hard work. They are amazing individuals and an amazing team.
Together, Jeri and Bruce have provided many thousands of dollars worth of hand-made, unique and delicious desserts for dozens of events over many years, including the Hammer-Marcum Award itself. This started years ago when Anne Gulliver, a much-loved early Hammer-Marcum honoree, got Jeri to bake goodies for the new Boulder Creek “Friends of the Library.” Then every Christmas, Martha Pruitt would call, and Jeri would bake cookies to be sold for the library’s benefit.
Since then, Jeri is still the meticulous and talented baker and Bruce, as he tells it, “does pots and pans.” Another beneficiary of Jeri’s baking skills and Bruce’s scour power, has been every fundraising event for Valley Churches United Missions that recent Hammer-Marcum Awardee Karin Ann Park has put on at Joe’s Bar. In addition, many of the Boulder Creek Fire Department’s events have featured Jeri’s desserts. Jeri also provides the dozens of cookies needed each year for the San Lorenzo Valley Museum’s Annual Children’s Christmas Tree Trimming event. Plus, she and Bruce drive to Aromas for strawberries donated by Driscol and prepare them to be served with the shortcake made by Dessert First for the Historical Museum’s Annual Bar-B-Q. And, as we already said, you are enjoying their desserts today as well!
Jeri and Bruce are strong supporters of Valley Churches United Missions and have also provided gift baskets to VCUM’s Holiday Gala each year, and donated to the Bryan Stow Fund.
They are supporters of Mountain Community Resources, demonstrating their desire to support individuals who want to learn to help themselves.
Going back in time, you should know that Bruce is a combat veteran of WWII, and has maintained his membership in the American Legion as well as his ties with his Company, 593rd JASCO, and the 96th Infantry Division. … More recently, Bruce is a founding member of the SLV Historical Museum’s Veterans Day Committee that started in 2010, charged with developing and organizing an event to honor local veterans. With his help, there is now a very successful annual event that brings the community together at Scopazzi’s to honor vets — sharing food, music, memorabilia, photos and stories — on Veterans’ Day, November 11th.
Bruce’s involvement in supporting children’s health and education includes volunteering for two generations of Little League, for both son and grandson, and also a couple of years for high school baseball as the “field prep guy,” which Bruce says “was really work.” … He was an active member of the Measure G Committee that succeeded in passing the bonds to fund the swimming pool at SLV High. … He was asked to serve on the start-up Watershed Academy’s advisory group, and did so for many years under the leadership of Jane Orbuch and (recent Hammer-Marcum honoree) Terry Umstead.
Bruce attended the County’s First 5 Commission’s meetings during its formative years. This Commission was established through the Initiative process and Bruce was active in that campaign so that State tobacco tax monies could be used to benefit pre-kindergarten children. … He was appointed by Supervisor Jeff Almquist to the Juvenile Justice Commission, and became a member of the first Restorative Justice class in the county. … He was a designated member of the SLV monthly education forum: Healthy Start, and was a part of the Unity Committee of SLV High, and an active participant in the Children’s Network. … He joined the Central Coast Regional Tobacco Free project; the county group was the Tobacco Education Coalition.
Bruce’s involvement also included water and environmental issues; his work helped assure important progress in these areas.
Bruce was appointed and reappointed by various 5th District Supervisors to successive terms on the County Water Advisory Commission, serving over twelve years attending monthly meetings “with pretty good agenda packets” to study and act on. … He was also appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve as the county’s member of the statewide Water Industry Technical Advisory Committee, or WITEC. This group met bimonthly for over two years to help draft California’s water regulations.
Both Jeri and Bruce honor the past and support the SLV Historical Museum. Since 2003 Jeri and Bruce have donated hundreds of hours of their time creating unique homemade gourmet food gift baskets to donate as fundraising auction and raffle items benefiting the San Lorenzo Valley Museum’s many programs. They have been an integral part of the Museum’s 4th of July Parade float entry, helping decorate, walking in the parade, and taking down the float afterward. They also helped this year with the Museum’s entry in the Felton Remembers Parade over Memorial Day weekend, to show the Museum’s support of the Felton Community and their annual parade to honor America’s veterans.
Jeri and Bruce are among the earliest supporters of the Valley Women’s Club, participating in many activities since becoming members. Bruce was active in the VWC’s Environmental Committee for many years in the late 1980’s and ‘90’s, always seeking ways to involve, support and employ young people in our community. He was one of the Committee members that started the original Sustainable Valley Campaign in the 1990’s, making residents aware of their impacts on the SLV’s unique environment. Since then he has promoted many eco-friendly ideas, including solar projects, to decision-makers in the community. He also served as Supervisor Jeff Almquist’s alternate to the Santa Margarita Groundwater Advisory Committee for several years starting in 1999.
Bruce and Jeri participated in the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run, a fundraiser for Senior Coastsiders, a seniors’ support group, in 2009.
Supporting history is not just confined to the SLV. Since 2001, Bruce has been a member of the Board at the Santa Cruz County Fair, and was re-appointed by Jerry Brown to the 14th District Agriculture Association, the State Agency that supports the Fair, in 2012. He has put in hundreds of hours a year helping make this wonderful event a success. … Their love of children shows as Jeri joins Bruce at the Fair actively helping in many ways — including showing hundreds of children attending with their school classes how to milk cows, make cream and ice cream, and showing them how to play old-fashioned games. They are members and supporters of the Agriculture History Project as well.
— Obviously Jeri and Bruce are warm and caring individuals who love children and have worked hard to enhance their well-being; they honor our local and regional history and working in agriculture; they support many SLV organizations, both through active participation and planning, and by providing homemade gourmet foods and truly beautiful desserts for fundraising and celebrations. They demonstrate constantly that individuals can make a difference. It is an honor to present the Hammer-Marcum Award to Jeri Green-Oneto and Bruce Oneto this year.
Jeri Green-Oneto & Bruce Oneto
Talitha (Tai) Stills
Karin Ann Park
Kevin Collins & Mary Jo Walker
Frank & Frances Adamson
Julie Hendriks & Larry Prather
Jim & Jane Keeffe
Laurie & Dan Hennig
Robbie & Dave Allen
Diana & Peter Troxell
Sheila De Lany
Annette Marcum & Mary Hammer