Thrive Napa Valley encourages leadership through awareness, education, and outreach. We empower our community to connect and engage through inspired action to promote environmental sustainability, social equity and compassion. To learn more about these types of happenings in the Napa Valley and beyond, click on the links below.
THRIVING: a state of being characterized by balance, belonging, and harmonious relationships with other people and with Nature
COMPASSION: a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it
Definition from Merriam-Webster Incorporated
Video From
The Science of Kindness (Life Vest Inside)
From the Superintendent
Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! Our vision is to transform lives and instill lifelong learning. To actualize this vision we are committed to three goals:

1. Prepare all students for College and Careers.
2. Provide Equitable Access and Opportunities.
3. Instill 21st Century Skills.

Thank you for being a part of Napa Valley Schools. By working together, as parents, staff and community members, we will achieve these goals.

We provide our students engaging experiences that build their ability to prosper in college and careers of the 21st Century. These 21st Century Skills include the six C’s (Communication, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, Character, and Global Citizenship).  

Please join by volunteering at schools, serving on Parent Advisory groups, and letting us know how we can improve. Wishing you and your families a fantastic school year!

Patrick J. Sweeney

Napa Valley CanDo brings together people from all over the Napa Valley who want to help our communities thrive through volunteerism and community action. Check out their CanDo Spotlight where events & volunteer opportunities from other groups around the valley are listed. Read the latest issue of the CanDo Connection

Napa County Coastal Cleanup

Join volunteers around the globe for Coastal Cleanup Day, Saturday, September 17, 2016. This annual event removes thousands of pounds of trash from Napa County streets, creeks, and coasts creating healthier waterways and communities.
For questions and registration, contact:
Jemma Williams at
or 707-252-4189 ext 3117
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks. - John Muir

LEVEL 1 - Sofa Superstar

Things that you can do from your couch:
  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
  • Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile.
  • Speak up! Ask your local and national authorities to engage in initiatives that don't harm people or the planet. 
  • Don't print. See something online you need to remember? Jot it down in a notebook or better yet a digital post-it note and spare the paper.
  • Do a bit of online research and buy only from companies that you know have sustainable practices and don't harm the environment.
These are only a few of the things you can do. Explore the Guide to find out more about the Goals you care most about and other ways to engage more actively.
WORLD'S LARGEST LESSON  What can you do to support The Global Goals? You can Invent, Innovate and Campaign for the Goals. Take part in the World's Largest Lesson during the week of Sept. 18, 2016. Join our movement & teach young people about the Goals and encourage them to become the generation that changed the world.
Delegates at a United Nations Youth Forum were asked what sustainable living means to them. Check out the video.
First thing in the morning, before you meet or greet anyone, remember to greet all of nature, all visible and invisible creatures. Say to them: "I am grateful for your work, I love you and want to be in harmony with you!" At this very moment, in response to your greeting, all of nature will open to you and send you energy for the entire day.
~Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

SEPTEMBER 10TH - 2nd Annual Napa Valley Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering  Join us for a fantastic outdoor evening of storytelling and song, an experience you'll not soon forget!
SEPTEMBER 24th - NapaShakes Presents Derek Jacobi & Folger Consort in Measure + Dido  Don't miss the first performances of this historic pairing of two monumental works, starring one of the world's most respected and beloved actors, before it moves to the Kennedy Center.
SEPTEMBER 25th - Symphony Napa Valley: Beethoven's Fifth(s)  Join Maestro Michael Gutmann and the prodigious young Russian pianist Nikolay Khozyainov, making his Napa debut. Don't miss this exciting opportunity to hear two of Beethoven's greatest masterpieces in one program!
The Watershed Information & Conservation Council and the Napa County Resource Conservation District are looking for images for the 2017 Watershed Awareness Calendar. The theme of next year's calendar will be "Hiking Trails of Napa County."  We are looking for high quality images of publicly accessible open space areas to encourage hiking, visitation, and recreation in Napa County's watersheds.
We will select 12 photos to be featured in the calendar as well as many smaller photos to be placed in various spots throughout the calendar.
Share your favorite places to hike and visit! 
Examples include spaces like: Oat Hill Mine Trail, Lake Berryessa, Napa-Bothe State Park, Wetlands Edge Trail, Sonoma Marsh, etc.

More details, including how to submit, can be found here. 

A new public searchable database provides access to a unique and inspirational treasure trove of amazing stories and pictures through what Lancaster University researchers term the 'social media' of the Edwardian era.

Described by researchers at Lancaster University as the social media of its day, with features of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger and SMS texts, the 'hands-on' database includes 1000 postcards, written and sent between 1901 and 1910, together with transcriptions and carefully researched historical data about the people who wrote and received the fascinating cards.

Browse the database by surname, location or by year to bring the Edwardian era to life with this fascinating snapshot of the life and times. The database has been funded through the Lancaster University Public Engagement with Research Leadership Group Fund and is part of the Edwardian Postcard Project co-directed by Director of Lancaster Literacy Research Centre and Senior Lecturer in Digital Literacies in the Department of Linguistics and English Language Dr Julia Gillen and Nigel Hall, Emeritus Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University.

"Edwardian postcards were the popular social media platform of the early twentieth century," says Dr Gillen. "Investigating the cards, we have uncovered some amazing tales and glimpses into everyday lives."

Since there were several deliveries a day (up to six times a day between 6am and 10pm in towns) cards could travel across country extraordinarily quickly through the rail network. A key communication channel, an amazing six billion cards were sent during this decade.

The super-efficient and speedy postal system in those days meant you could send a postcard from almost everywhere, even on a train.

"It really was a snapshot of what the people saw and experienced at the time," said Dr Gillen. "Postcards were used for all purposes, not just holidays, as later in the century.

People used postcards just as they use social networking platforms and text messages today. Wherever they were, they bought, commissioned or created their own artwork on postcards and sent them off in the knowledge they would reach their recipient within hours."

And the postcard enabled the writer to escape from the formal and conventional letter writing of the day to present a much shorter, snappier style of communication -- just as social media does today.

There was a wonderful variety of pictures in those days: everything from cute cats to celebrities and you could even send a selfie.

Nothing like this fast, attractive, cost-effective means of written communication existed again until the advent of digital media.

The Edwardian Postcard Project is the first project to collect, transcribe and analyse early 20th Century postcards in any significant number.

By simply typing in a surname, address, town or year, the database displays a snapshot of Edwardian social history.

We Understand That Social Media
Does Not Equal Social Interaction

If you worry that people today are using social media as a crutch for a real social life, a University of Kansas study will set you at ease.
Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies, found that people are actually quite adept at discerning the difference between using social media and having an honest-to-goodness social interaction. The results of his studies appear in the journal New Media & Society.
"There is a tendency to equate what we do on social media as if it is social interaction, but that does not reflect people's actual experience using it," Hall said. "All of this worry that we're seeking out more and more social interaction on Facebook is not true. Most interactions are face to face, and most of what we consider social interaction is face to face."
According to Hall, social media is more like old-fashioned people-watching. "Liking" something is similar to a head nod. It's not social interaction, but it's acknowledging you are sharing space with someone else.
"Keeping tabs on other people sharing our social spaces is normal and part of what it means to be human," Hall said.
Hall is no stranger to research on social media. New Media & Society published an earlier study of his that found people can accurately detect the personality traits of strangers through Facebook activity.
In his current paper in the journal, Hall details three studies. The first demonstrates that when using social media, most of us are engaged in passive behaviors that we don't consider social interaction, like browsing others' profiles and reading news articles.
The second diary study demonstrates that most of what we consider social interaction with people in our close circle of friends happens face to face. When interaction with these close others is through social media, it's not something passive like browsing or "liking" but rather using chat or instant message functions.
Here's where it gets interesting, Hall said. The first study found that chatting and commenting -- things that we would even consider social interaction -- are but 3.5 percent of our time on social media.
The third study had participants contacted at random times throughout the day. This study drives home how adept we are at separating social media use with social interaction. People reported 98 percent of their social interactions took some other way than through social media.
"Although people often socially interact and use social media in the same time period, people understand they are different things," Hall said. "People feel a sense of relatedness when they're interacting face to face, but using social media does not make them feel connected."
All three studies, Hall said, circle around the idea that we still value face-to-face time with close others for the purpose of talking.
"If we want to have a conversation, we're not using social media to do it," he said.
The findings speak to a broader anxiety that many still have regarding social media.
"There's a worry that people are seeking out more and more social interactions on Facebook and that social media is taking over our face-to-face time," Hall said. "I'm saying, 'Not so fast.' People use social media to people-watch and still seem to enjoy a good face-to-face conversation."
Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. - Marcel Proust
Too Busy For A Hobby? 5 Tips to Find the Time
Don't let your to-do list keep you from doing things you love
Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Does that sound a little too familiar?

For many of us, overly busy schedules are a reality. But mental health experts agree: One way to greater well-being means making room for another to-do — time for a hobby you truly enjoy.

Let's make this happen! Pleasurable pastimes offer breathers amid the busyness. They may even make us more productive by protecting us from burnout. But of course, finding free moments isn't always easy. Here are five tips that can help:

1. Don't wait to find time — make time
Build me-time into your day. Can you wake up 20 minutes earlier to write in your journal? Snap photos in the park during your lunch break? Here's another idea: Keep track of how you spend your time for a week — and find hidden openings. Maybe you could trade that hour of TV time after dinner for working on your craft project.

2. Pencil / Pen yourself in
Treat your hobby time like you would a work meeting or a doctor visit. Want to try that weekend yoga class? The neighborhood book club on Tuesday evening? Put it on your calendar — and you'll be more likely to commit.

3. Ditch your device for a while
Constant texts, calls and emails can cut into what downtime you do have. You might be surprised at what you're able to accomplish — and enjoy — by going screen-free when possible for just an hour or two.

4. Practice a polite "Thanks, but I need to pass"
Doing for others can certainly boost our well-being. But if you tend to give away much of your free time, consider taking back some for yourself. Maybe you could skip making cookies for this month's bake sale. Or send regrets for an invite where your attendance isn't crucial.

Don't think of me-time as selfish — it's part of having a full life. That said, many people find hobbies they love that also help others, such as working in a community garden or knitting caps for newborn babies. For more ideas, see "Find your bliss."

5. Lighten your household load
Everyday chores can be a big time drain. So look for ways to trim your task list. Maybe you can pay a neighborhood teen to tackle that weekend yard work — or ask a family member to help out. Or perhaps you can save something nonessential for later. Washing the windows or cleaning out the garage can wait!
Fidgeting Health Benefits (MU School of Medicine)
Click on the Shoes (above) for VIDEO

Previous research has shown that sitting for an extended period of time at a computer or during a long airline flight reduces blood flow to the legs, which may contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri have found that fidgeting while sitting can protect the arteries in legs and potentially help prevent arterial disease.

"Many of us sit for hours at a time, whether it's binge watching our favorite TV show or working at a computer, " said Jaume Padilla, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at MU and lead author of the study. "We wanted to know whether a small amount of leg fidgeting could prevent a decline in leg vascular function caused by prolonged sitting. While we expected fidgeting to increase blood flow to the lower limbs, we were quite surprised to find this would be sufficient to prevent a decline in arterial function."

During the study, the researchers compared the leg vascular function of 11 healthy young men and women before and after three hours of sitting. While sitting, the participants were asked to fidget one leg intermittently, tapping one foot for one minute and then resting it for four minutes, while the other leg remained still throughout. On average, the participants moved their feet 250 times per minute. The researchers then measured the blood flow of the popliteal - an artery in the lower leg - and found that the fidgeting leg had a significant increase in blood flow, as expected, while the stationary leg experienced a reduction in blood flow.

Research has shown that increased blood flow and its associated shear stress - the friction of the flowing blood on the artery wall - is an important stimulus for vascular health. However, fidgeting's protective role had not been established.

While only one leg was exposed to fidgeting during the experiment, in a real-world scenario the researchers recommend tapping both legs to maximize the beneficial effects. However, the researchers caution that fidgeting is not a substitute for walking and exercising, which produce more overall cardiovascular benefits.

"You should attempt to break up sitting time as much as possible by standing or walking," Padilla said. "But if you're stuck in a situation in which walking just isn't an option, fidgeting can be a good alternative Any movement is better than no movement."
Reprinted from materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Journal Reference: Takuma Morishima, Robert M. Restaino, Lauren K. Walsh, Jill A. Kanaley, Paul J. Fadel, Jaume Padilla. Prolonged sitting-induced leg endothelial dysfunction is prevented by fidgetingAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 2016; 311 (1): H177 DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00297.2016
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle: The Life Cycle of Stuff
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages everyone to think about a product's entire lifecycle when it comes to waste. We all know how important it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, But did you also know those actions are listed in that order for a reason? Reducing what we use - and using stuff carefully - are the more effective ways to save natural resources and help create a more sustainable future for our planet.

Making smart choices about what we buy, how we use it, and how we dispose of it can make a big difference in the amount of waste we produce and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our consumption. The manafacture, distribution and use of the goods and food we rely on in our daily lives - as well as the management of the resulting waste - all require energy. This energy mostly comes from fossil fuels, which are the largest global source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

Everything we use goes through a life cycle, and each stage of the life cycle has environmental impacts, including climate change. However, reducing the use of materials in every stage of the life cycle minimizes the environmental impact associated with the stuff we use. EPA's feature the Life Cycle of Stuff helps how the effects of our stuff at each stage of its existence, from materials extraction to end-of-life management.

Reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money. Reduction prevents pollution caused by processing raw materials, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and saves money.
The ABC's of Living Green
Each month we will spotlight letters of the alphabet with suggestions for living a sustainable lifestyle:

R - Repair-Reuse-Recycle, Recycled Paper, Renewable Energy, Respect, Ride A Bike, Reforestation, Reduce Environmental Footprint

S - Support Sustainable Systems, Speak Up!, Solar, Spend Time Outdoors, Sustainable Construction, Small Sustainable Actions, Securing The Future
Purchase this beautiful 24" x 36" poster and start living the green life. Sassy and fun images and words by Donna Tarbania, Karen Kerney (illustrations and design), Dik Cool and many friends. SCW © 2010
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All rights reserved.

All sources have been reviewed and, where applicable, permission to reprint has been obtained. Active links have been provided and are current at time of publication.
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