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July/August Newsletter

In this issue:

  • We've Found a New Office!
  • Vacancy Announcement - Business Educator
  • Workshop - Introducing Native Grasses in Willits Watershed
  • Article - Grasslands for Climate Sequestration
  • Meet our Climate Action Corp Fellows

We've Found a New Office!

During the pandemic our landlord closed our leased office space at the 180 Studios Community Makers Space.  After months of working out of temporary corners we are very happy to have found a new home at the Environmental Center of Sonoma County!  The Environmental Center is run by the Sonoma County Conservation Council (SCCC), a nonprofit provides resources to protect and enhance our local environment since 1984.  The Center, operated jointly with the Sierra Club Redwood Chapter, supports member organizations such as Conservation Works, serves as an information hub, and provides opportunities for ad hoc groupings to work on specific issues.  We are grateful to the SCCC for their support and excited that we have a safe place for our staff and community volunteers to work to continue to serve our community.  

Vacancy Announcement

Business Educator for Underserved Small Farmers and Ranchers in Sonoma, Marin, Lake and Mendocino Counties

Conservation Works is growing our team!  We are looking for a Business Educator to manage and implement a 20-month project deploying workshops and other forms of education, training, and mentoring to aid farmers and ranchers achieve sustainable and profitable farming and ranching businesses.  Would you like to be part of our team, make a difference and supporting our underserved farmer's and enhance the quality of life across our four counties?  If so, we would love to hear from you.  See vacancy announcement link below.

To apply, please send a resume and cover letter stating your interest in the position to oona@conservationworksnc.org 

Vacancy Announcement
Come join us on August 28th for this native grasses workshop.  See flyer above for registration details or click on the link below.  Know someone else who might be interested?  Please share!  
Click Here to Register

Grasslands and Carbon Sequestration

By Nancy MacFarlane, California Climate Action Corp Fellow

Grasslands are an important part of California’s beautiful and diverse landscapes. Our sweeping hillsides are shades of green during the winter and swaying fields of golden grasses in the summer. Our grasslands provide many ecosystem benefits which contribute to the health of our planet including, food for humans and animals, habitat for many birds, insects and animals, filtering and storing water, erosion control, and sequestering of carbon.  Additionally native grasses can remain green in the fall when it’s hot and dry; they offer a longer forage season for livestock and wildlife.

Grasslands can sequester large amounts of carbon due to their long root systems. Perennial grasses (those that last for years as opposed to annuals) can renew 50% of their root mass each year which means carbon is stored underground rather than being released back into the atmosphere. Grasslands actually remove more carbon from the atmosphere than any other ecosystem in our country.  A study from UC Davis found that grasslands are now more resilient carbon sinks than California’s forests because grasslands are less impacted by drought, rising temperatures and wildfires than our forests. 

Unfortunately, our grasslands are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States. California’s grasslands were formerly comprised of native perennial grasses. Once non-native settlers started arriving, so did exotic annual grasses which rapidly took over. Overgrazed rangelands, urbanization and the suppression of fire led to a decline in native grasses over the last two centuries. Only a very small percentage of the state’s native perennial grasses now remain. According to California Native Grasslands Association, restoration and preservation of our native grasses are needed to help negate the effects of climate change.     

 Agricultural and rangeland management practices can help mimic what naturally occurred on the landscape such as short duration, high-intensity rotational grazing, and controlled burns. This helps with the removal of litter, recycles nutrients, and reduces seedbanks of competitive annual plants. The Marin Carbon Project has been working on restoring the health of rangelands through a process referred to as carbon farming. It is designed to maximize agriculture’s potential for moving excess greenhouses gasses from the atmosphere and storing them in the soil and vegetation, which can help build fertility, productivity, and resilience. 

Other organizations such as the Carbon Cycle Institute, local Resource Conservation Districts, county Land Trusts, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, and California Native Grasslands Association have also provided guidance on restoring our native grasslands and are also working on ways to reverse global climate change by promoting environmental stewardship.

Since grasslands provide so many benefits to humans, wildlife and the earth, they are certainly worth preserving and restoring. One step we can take in addressing climate change is to plant native perennials in our yards, schools and communities, or volunteer with restoration projects. Together we can help sequester carbon and preserve this important ecosystem.
 

Meet our Climate Action Corp Fellows 

Katharine Gabor

I was thrilled for the opportunity to join Conservation Works, as part of the California Climate Action Corps Summer Program. In my role as Environmental Educator, I am aiding the development of workshop and program materials that introduce members of the public to the important role native grasses have in the ecosystem, in carbon sequestration, and for climate and fire resilience. For me it is the chance to mesh professional, volunteer, and personal interests while working with a group that is clearly focused on tangible climate action."   

Nancy MacFarlane

This summer I’ll be working with Conservation Works as a Stewardship Coordinator. The project will be a re-seeding of native grasses in the burned areas near Willits to help with carbon sequestration. I feel honored to be part of the California Climate Action Corps because they provide people with opportunities to take meaningful action to mitigate climate change while helping to create resilient communities. One of my mantras in life is “do what needs to be done”, which closely resonates with the AmeriCorps motto of “Getting Things Done”.

 

Luya Rivera

As a California Climate Action Fellow for this inaugural year of Summer Climate Actions, I am proud to be working as the Communications Coordinator for Conservation Works in Northern California. Providing education to the local community to create meaningful connection to the natural landscape through hands-on engagement fulfills the reason the Climate Action Corp was established to : “empower all Californians to take meaningful action to safeguard the climate”.  It is exciting to be part of Climate Action from start to finish and I hope to see the benefits of our time and energy in the future.

 

Run out of Coffee?  Keep the Buzz Going with a Monthly Coffee Subscription to Bee Bold

Conservation Works is a Pollinator Partner with Thanksgiving Coffee Company.   Purchase of their Bee Bold product line helps support our work as a Pollinator Protector.   When you purchase Bee Bold Coffee online, we receive 20% of your purchase price to help fund our conservation programs.  

Happy sipping! 



 

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