by Jen Stanfield
Glen Oaks Ranch is a diverse property with historic infrastructure and natural resources. About six years ago, Sonoma Land Trust enlisted the help of volunteers to maintain Glen Oaks’ 2.8 miles of hiking trails and perform other tasks as needed. It was lovely to, once again, host this group for our annual kickoff meeting at the ranch last Saturday. While I always enjoy working with the Trail Crew volunteers, this year was particularly fun — the group was comprised entirely of returning members! This meant that I could present a simplified program — and that everyone was already familiar with each other. Many of them hadn’t been in touch since the conclusion of the 2016 season. We gathered around coffee and pastries, exchanging news and laughter in the damp morning air. After covering the requisite safety information and logistics, the group split into smaller groups to tackle mowing, pruning and rock-lining of the hiking trails.
by Bob Neale
A few weeks ago, Sonoma Land Trust transferred our Tolay Creek Ranch property to Sonoma County Regional Parks. Just before the paperwork was done, we took Press Democrat reporter Nick Rahaim out to do a story about this amazing place and to let the community know about this happy event. What a day! It was early spring and warm and sunny — the grass was growing, the meadowlarks were singing and coyotes loped across the hillsides. It was lovely … and bittersweet.
by Kendall Webster
Two weeks ago, it was a big week at Sonoma Land Trust — we closed on the transfer of Tolay Creek Ranch to Sonoma County Regional Parks! Our very public and publicized gift of the 1,665-acre Tolay Creek Ranch doubled the size of Tolay Lake Regional Park, creating the largest regional park in Sonoma County.
by Crystal Simons
Pop the champagne cork! Hire a professional photographer! Send out the announcements!
When a property is protected for conservation, we celebrate. We celebrate the intention and conservation ethic of the landowner. We celebrate the beauty of the natural resources and the realization of their longevity. We honor the individuals, partners and supporters who make the projects happen. This, the moment of acquisition, is the birth of a landscape’s life as a conservation property.
Following the acquisition, the property’s project file is carefully cleaned up, dressed in a new manila envelope, wrapped in a blanket of press coverage, and gently handed over from the acquisition project team to the receiver: the land trust stewardship staffer who will care for it, monitor it and patiently but sternly tend to it and the people connected to it … forever.
Remind you of something?
by Ingrid Spetz
I recently celebrated my fifth year of running the On the Land program at Sonoma Land Trust. I’m proud to have played a part in bringing over 5,000 people to our protected lands in that time. It’s been a wonderful journey discovering some of the treasures of Sonoma County and sharing them with others.
Next week, I am headed to the annual California Council of Land Trusts conference, where I will be presenting on how to run an outings program for a land trust. I hope that I can encourage and inspire others to do the same! In preparation, I reviewed photographs from our outings over the past five years and picked out 35 photos that capture some of the great outings we have had. I think it’s truly impressive what we have been able to accomplish and I can’t stop looking at my slideshow!
I’d like to invite you to come along and experience our lands this spring. Not only do we have our longtime spring favorite wildflower hikes, but we are also featuring the songbirds of spring, nature walks with biologist Peter Leveque, and adventures to Pole Mountain, among other things. We'll be updating our outings page near the middle of next week, so check back then to join us on the land!
Ingrid Spetz is Sonoma Land Trust's outings manager.
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.