August 8, 2013 — Helping Hands Day
Employees of Moss Adams, Certified Public Accountants, in Santa Rosa chose PWA to volunteer an afternoon of removing nonnative, invasive plants on the south trail in Shollenberger Park. These employees were good workers, had an easygoing rapport with each other, and a delight to work alongside.
July-August 2013 — Sonoma County Ecology Youth Corp
This summer PWA shared a work crew with Ron DeNicola, Director of Petaluma Parks & Recreation Maintenance. The crew, consisting of six “At Risk” teenagers and their supervisor, worked nine days, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in Shollenberger Park and Alman Marsh. The Alman Marsh trail was cleared of invasive vegetation and the north trail at Shollenberger has a new, inviting look. Throughout the workdays two or three PWA docents and community volunteers worked with the teenagers in pulling/cutting the nonnative, invasive weeds and engaging them in conversation.
June 23, 2013 — Annual PWA Docent Party, 2:00-5:00 PM
Docents met in Boyce & Kay Quinn’s garden for a delightful afternoon of good food and relaxation after the end of a very successful year for the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance. This is the time when we all have the opportunity to know each other a little better and learn about all the different activities within the organization. Spouses/Partners joined in the celebration.
June 8, 2013 — Docent Enrichment Field Trip, 9:00 AM – Noon
Betty Young, horticulturist and director of native plant nurseries for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNP), gave 13 PWA docents a plant identification walk at Shollenberger/Alman Marsh. The walk was very informative and appreciated.
April 7, 2013 — Spring Feather Fest for Kids
PWA held its first Feather Fest for Kids, ages 6-12, on Sunday April 7th at Shollenberger. This activity was organized by docent Al Hesla and fifty-one people participated in this event, including twenty-one kids, 19 relatives, and 11 docents. Four teams were formed: Avocets, Loons, Eagles, and Hawks. Teams toured the wetlands to observe nesting behavior. Following the walk, a special kid-friendly tailgate lunch was provided and each family was presented with a children’s illustrated book, Take-Along Guide: Birds, Nests and Eggs, by Mel Boring.
March 27, 2013 — Seventh Graders from Petaluma Junior High at Shollenberger
Larry West, Science Teacher at Petaluma Junior High School, brought 150 students to Shollenberger. PWA docents were assigned a location to interpret the wetlands at Shollenberger for this annual outing. Those nine docents who volunteered to help included Len Nelson, Cindy Granados, Gerald & Mary Edith Moore, Dennis Buss, Wayne Till, Bob Dyer, Andy LaCasse, and Connie Peabody.
The students arrived at 10:00 AM via bus and Larry divided them into groups, half of the groups went clockwise and the other half, counterclockwise. Larry asked each group to stop at every trail marker and one of the students read text from the “SELF-GUIDED TOUR OF SHOLLENBERGER PARK.”
Four applicants finished the eight-week course for new wetlands’ docents: Deborah Brandon, Theresa Ryan, Suzanne Clarke, and Steve Ayala. These graduates bring diverse talents to PWA, and we are fortunate that they have decided to volunteer with us.
February 18, 2013 — Petaluma Garden Club Restores Habitat
From 9:30 AM to Noon on the north trail at Shollenberger, 10 members of the Petaluma Garden Club removed nonnative plants and put wood chips around the native plants. Gerry Bryant organized the members and kept things running smoothly.
February 8-10, 2013 — San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival
This 17th annual festival celebrates the annual wildlife migration through the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Exhibits and presentations took place at Mare Island, Expo Building 223, 500 Connolly Street, Vallejo CA. PWA docents Andy LaCasse and Dennis Buss led tours, respectively, at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, 9:30-11:30 AM on Friday and Saturday.
January 27, 2013 — Planting at Shollenberger
Seven PWA docents and community volunteers planted Gum Plant, Rush, Toyon, Coffeeberry, Creeping Wild Rye, and Meadow Barley along the north trail.
January 25 — Fifth Graders at Sonoma Valley Elementary School
About 50 fifth graders from Sonoma Valley came to Shollenberger for an educational walk, 10:30 AM – 1:30 PM. Docent Steve Jette was the contact and recruited PWA docents to help with the activity.
January 19, 2013 — The Bucket Brigade
Due to lack of rain, the Bucket Brigade was activated to water the new native plants.
January 16, 2013 — New PWA Website Online
After months of hard work by a five-member team from Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) and additional work by one of the programmers, Alex Aspinall, the new PWA website had a soft opening in mid-January. Errors continued to be found, but Alex agreed to continue with the PWA website until all errors were corrected. Mission accomplished in mid-May 2013.
January 5, 2013 — Petaluma’s 4th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for Kids
An enthusiastic group of 11 kids braved the cold morning at the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility. PWA docent Al Hesla organized the activity, and docent Andy LaCasse was the team leader. Following binocular instructions, the team spent two hours birding in the wetlands, observing 32 species in a total of 287 birds. Scott Manchester, photographer for the Argus Courier, photographed the event.
The morning ended with a tailgate brown-bag lunch, hot chocolate for the kids, coffee for the adults, homemade cookies and brownies, and candy canes.
November 1, 2012 — Sowing Seeds
Along the asphalt trail, in front of the cable-and-post fence, one pound of California poppy seeds was sown. On the downside of the levee, between the asphalt trail and the gravel road, a ½ pound of native rye and barley grasses were sown.
October 15-November 7, 2012 — Cattail Removal
Thirteen PWA docents and community volunteers removed a wide swath of cattails down the middle of the decant channel, extending from the Shollenberger entrance to the first bend in the north trail. This cattail removal restored 60-65% of the open water that used to be in that section of the channel.
October 7, 2012 — Regatta Revisited
PWA confirmed they would again help The North Bay Rowing Club and Sonoma State University at their 7th Annual Wine Country Rowing Classic. PWA docents monitored viewing sites in Alman Marsh during the races.
September 3, 2012 — Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) Began Rebuilding the PWA Website
A five-member team, consisting of a designer, three programmers, and a project manager, was assigned to rebuild the PWA website. To help the SRJC team with input, a PWA committee was formed: Kathleen Garvey, Helen Heal, and Gerald & Mary Edith Moore.
July 21, 2012 — PWA Celebration at Lisa’s Ranch, 2-5 PM
It had been a very busy, interesting year, but now it was time for our annual summer get-together with food, wine, and invigorating conversation. Docent Lisa Shiffrin hosted us with our spouse/support person at her ranch. It was so relaxing and comfortable to sit under the shade trees, getting to know each other a little better and catching up on the latest news.
May 17, 2012 — Badger Spirit Award
A Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly, signed by Jared Huffman and accepted by Gerald Moore, was presented to the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance (PWA) at the Paula Lane Action Network Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The award recognized PWA as the cornerstone of conservation and education at Shollenberger Park, Alman Marsh, and Ellis Creek in Petaluma and cited the hundreds of hours dedicated to preserving the conservation values of the Petaluma wetlands, while improving habitats for wildlife.
May 10, 2012 — PWA Docent Enrichment Field Trip to Casa Grande High School (CASA) Fish Hatchery
Twelve docents and spouses toured the CASA fish hatchery, located on the high school campus. The United Anglers, students who work at the hatchery under the direction of Dan Hubacker, led small groups of us through the state-of-the-art hatchery. These students dedicate their time and effort to help protect the native Chinook salmon/Steelhead trout and their habitat in Adobe Creek. Countless hours, they tell us, are spent in searching and caring for these animals, maintaining the facility, and fundraising.
May 5, 2012 — Valley Vista Elementary School’s Shollenberger Mural
PWA partnered with Valley Vista School to produce a mural for the front of the school. This involved a short presentation for the school and support for the students as they painted a variety of wooden cutouts of animals found in Shollenberger and nearby locations. We then participated in their Garden Party event on May 5 and in the unveiling of the mural. Many public officials were present, and it was a nice boost for the park. Drive by the school and enjoy this spectacular sight!
April 16, 18, and 20, 2012 — PWA Docents Conducted Classes for the Advanced Placement Class at Casa Grande High School (CASA)
PWA worked with John Shribbs to develop and deliver three classes for his CASA AP class on Shollenberger: wetlands, taught by Gerald Moore on the 16th; bird surveys, taught by Peter Colasanti, Len Nelson, and Elaine Pruett on the 18th; and Barn Owls habitat and pellet dissection, taught by Gerald & Mary Edith Moore and Beth Flake.
April 11, 2012 — Turtle Research Survey
There are four basking logs in the freshwater channel and the logs are already being used by the turtles. The method for surveying uses only three people and has been done quite successfully by Dave Cook, Sonoma County Water Agency. Three PWA docents will do the research: Andy, Elaine, and Tamara Miller with backups John Richards, Gerald, and Mary Edith. PWA docent Len Nelson constructed metal silhouettes to measure the size of the turtles. The survey continued weekly into summer until cattails blocked the view. Two turtle species in a total of nine were identified: one Red-eared Slider, one baby of unknown species, and seven Western Pond turtles.
March 28, 2012 — Seventh Graders from Petaluma Junior High at Shollenberger Larry West, Science Teacher at Petaluma Junior High School, brought the 150 students to Shollenberger. PWA docents were divided into nine groups and assigned a location to interpret the wetlands at Shollenberger for this annual outing. Those docents included Steve Jette, first corner on upper trail; Len Nelson and Cindy Granados, bridge over Adobe Creek; Gerald and Mary Edith Moore, in vicinity of observation deck; Dennis Buss, mid-way on southern trail; John Richards, near PRBO corner; Bob Dyer, near weir at end of left channel; Tim Talamantes on last bench before exit; and Connie Peabody with one group of students and Larry West with another group of students.
The students arrived ~10:00 AM via bus and Larry divided them into groups; half of the groups went clockwise, the other half, counterclockwise. Larry asked the groups to stop at every trail marker and one of the students read the text from the “SELF-GUIDED TOUR OF SHOLLENBERGER PARK.”
March 21, 2012 — Habitat Restoration Volunteers
Bank of America employees volunteered to help with restoration at Shollenberger on Wednesday, 1-4 PM. Not only did they pull cocklebur, bag it, and put the bags in the little red truck; but they met Mary Edith at the dumpster, unloaded the bags, emptied them into the dumpster, folded the empty bags, and stored them in the Shollenberger shed. They arrived on time and finished at 4:30 PM. A lot of cocklebur was removed in a short length of time.
February 25, 2012 — Cattail Removal
Chief Petty Officer Sabrina Hearst, instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma (Two Rock), with Petty Officer Christopher Clark and Seaman Lukowiak brought eight volunteers to help five PWA docents cut and remove cattails in Shollenberger’s freshwater channel. The cuttings were laid on the levee banks to act as a mulch to kill perennial pepperweed (Lepidium species). At the end of three hours, the channel had a new look—and we saw the rare American Bittern, the first sighting in two years. The next day six PWA docents put two more basking logs into the marsh, replacing the two old ones that were waterlogged and no longer working.
February 23, 2012 — Graduation Day for Five New Docents
Five applicants finished the eight-week course for new wetlands docents. These graduates are small in number, but big on enthusiasm and are eager to interpret the wetlands. Two, Tamara and Sparky, have already hit the floor running by volunteering to join the Coast Guard in the upcoming cattail removal in the Shollenberger freshwater channel on 25 February.
February 11, 2012 — Planting, Flagging, and Mulching
The Business Environmental Challenge (Agilent, JDSU, and Metronic Employees) joined the Casa Grande Interact Club (a high school service club sponsored by the Rotary Club of Petaluma Valley) and PWA volunteers for a morning of invigorating work at Shollenberger.
January 7, 2012 — Christmas Bird Count for Kids
The third annual event was a great success with 18 kids and their parents participating. Nineteen PWA docents gave tremendous support. Following Binocular Boot Camp lessons by their birding team leaders at the Kenilworth Recreation Center, three teams of kids, accompanied by their parents, set out to their assigned trails in the Petaluma public wetlands for 90 minutes of birding.
The group enjoyed a brown-bag lunch, followed by Gerald Moore sharing the history of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Each team reported its favorite bird observations during the tabulation celebration. The kids then enjoyed a rousing game of Bird Bingo—including prizes—where they matched bird names on their bingo cards with Bob Dyer’s bird photographs projected on a screen. We were then treated to a special presentation by the Bird Rescue Center of Santa Rosa with two of their captive wild birds: a Turkey Vulture and a Great-horned Owl. The kids learned about the care of injured wild birds and what harm humans can do by “imprinting” on the birds when attempting to care for them.
November 16, 2011 — Certificate of Appreciation to the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance
The City of Petaluma–Recreation, Music and Park’s Commission–recognized the dedication, commitment, and performance of the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance (PWA). Gerald Moore, chair of the PWA, accepted the certificate on behalf of the organization.
October 27, 2011 — Removing Nonnative Bushes in Alman Marsh
Many thanks go to Joel Allen, instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma (Two Rock), for bringing 10 middle-management students to clear the nonnative bushes along the mid-section of the Alman Marsh trail.
October 16, 2011 — Rebuilding Together Petaluma (rtp)
Executive Director of rtp, Jane Hamilton, organized a group of 34 volunteers for a workday in Alman Marsh. On either side of the trail, nonnatives were removed, bagged, and trucked (via a “gator” with Andy LaCasse as the pilot) to the dump truck at the Marina entrance.
August 12, 2011 — Agilent, JDSU, and Metronic Employees Weed at Shollenberger
Again these businesses sent their employees to help in the Petaluma wetlands. All are excellent workers, and we are delighted they choose our wetlands for their volunteer workday.
July 28, 2011 — Weeding at the Athleta Corner in Alman Marsh
Eleven Athleta employees helped John Shribbs, and Gerald & Mary Edith Moore remove weeds at the Athleta corner. Weeds with seeds were bagged and transferred to the dumpster at the end of the Shollenberger parking lot; other weeds were stacked on site, near the Athleta corner, in a compost pile.
June 26, 2011 — PWA Docent Celebration, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
After a very exciting and busy year, the docents got together at Karen & Dave Johnson’s for food, drink, and lively conversation. The PWA Board and docents with their spouses/support persons had the opportunity to get to know each other a little better and catch up on the latest news. Last, but not least, Karen was thanked heartedly for her two years of volunteering as the liaison between the teachers in the Petaluma River Watershed and PWA.
June 23, 2011 — Docent Enrichment Field Trip, Plant Identification
Fifteen docents took a brief tour of the Casa Grande High School (CASA) nursery and the plant walk at Shollenberger Park. John Shribbs, who grows most of our native plants, took us on a brief tour of his nursery starting at 8:15, enabling the docents to become acquainted with some of the native species which have been planted at the park. The walk at Shollenberger started at 9:00 AM. On the two-hour walk we identified many plant species, talked about Miwok uses of some species, and the overall plan for habitat restoration in the park.
June 21, 2011 — Docent Enrichment Field Trip, Petaluma Museum, 10:00 AM
Fifteen docents/spouses attended the exhibit at the Petaluma Museum: “Beyond – Visions of Planetary Landscapes” …a Smithsonian traveling exhibit whose only California stop was in Petaluma. PWA Docent Len Nelson is also a Petaluma Museum volunteer and a docent for this exhibit; he led our tour through the exhibit.
June 18, 2011 — Veterans Help at Shollenberger
On a beautiful Saturday morning, six veterans helped the PWA docents remove mustards, bristly ox-tongue, and prickly lettuce. Work began at the Shollenberger gate and advanced toward the river. It’s amazing what these veterans accomplished in three hours.
May 24, 2011 — Kiosk #7, Habitat Restoration, is Modified and Updated
To minimize interior condensation, Peter Colasanti added more air holes to balance the interior/exterior temperature and covered the holes with screen to keep the small creatures out. Gerald Moore arranged the new laminated photos and text in the kiosk, while Mary Edith Moore chased spider webs and polished the Plexiglas.
May 12, 2011 — Pulling/Digging out the Poison Hemlocks
J.P. McGowan, instructor at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma (Two Rock), brought 18 students to remove the poison hemlock. Because the hemlock was about ¾ mile from the entrance, two Coast Guard vans traveled in convoy along the dirt road to the iron bridge where the work began. Visitors were delighted that the Coast Guard was helping with wetlands habitat.
May 7, 2011 — Docent and Restoration Volunteers
Gerald and Mary Edith Moore setup a table at 8:00 AM at the Marina for the River Cleanup. He and Mary Edith recruited PWA docents and restoration volunteers until 10:30 AM. Sally Rowland and Beth Flake took the 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM shift.
May 3 and 14 June, 2011 — PRBO Conservation Science Employees Pull Weeds
Twelve employees worked in Shollenberger on their lunch hour to remove weeds which fronted their building. Because of the summer noontime heat, the summer monthly habitat restoration will begin at 7:30 AM.
April 30, 2011 — Identifying Grasses in Shollenberger
Wade Belew, Chairman of the California Grasslands Association, met the Moores and Kathleen Garvey at Shollenberger on Saturday afternoon to identify grasses, both native and nonnative. It was a good session. Fifteen species were identified.
April 14, 2011 — High School Volunteers
Dinah Lee, English teacher at Casa Grande High School (CASA), brought her 23 English class students to Shollenberger for a little plant education and weed removal.
March 22, 2011 — Docents from the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) Visit the Ellis Creek Wetlands
Peter Colasanti, Andy LaCasse, Gerald Moore, and Mary Edith Moore led a two-hour tour for 15 CAS docents. As they walked around the polishing wetlands, the history of Gray’s Marsh was told; landmarks indicated; and birds scoped and identified. An update on the PWA’s educational and stewardship programs of the Petaluma wetlands was discussed.
March 3, 2011 — Removing Nonnative Bushes & Mulching Around the Natives
Thanks go to CPO Clint Hamilton and SCPO Ryan Fahlenkamp, instructors at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma (Two Rock), for bringing 18 students to cut down nonnative blackberry bushes, relocating and stacking the cuttings for habitat, and putting wood chips around native plants at Shollenberger.
February 24, 2011 — Graduation Day for Eight New Docents
Eight applicants finished the eight-week course for new wetlands docents. These graduates have a great deal of enthusiasm and are eager to interpret the wetlands.
February 11-13, 2011 — San Francisco Flyway Festival
This 15th annual festival celebrates the annual wildlife migration through the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Exhibits and presentations took place at Mare Island, Expo Building 223, 500 Connolly Street. Vallejo CA. Bob Dyer, Al Hesla, Larry Johnson, and Wayne Till led two PWA tours at the Ellis Creek Wetlands, 9:30 AM to Noon, Friday & Saturday morning 11 & 12 February.
January 29, 2011 — Staking the Oak Trees and Planting
Thanks go to Chief Petty Officer Sabrina Hearst and Petty Officer Anissa Taylor, instructors at the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma (Two Rock), for bringing 24 students to stake the oaks and plant native vegetation at Shollenberger. The instructors rallied students from Food Service Specialist “A”, Operations Specialist and Electronics Technician “A”, and the Chief Petty Officer’s Academy. It was a pleasure to see the instructors working alongside the students and hear their easy banter and laughter as they pounded stakes and planted native trees, plus shrubs and grasses. So much was accomplished in four hours! Without a doubt all had a good time, including the PWA docents.
January 11, 2011 — River Access & Enhancement Plan, 4:00 to 7:00 PM
A public meeting, organized by the National Park Service and the Petaluma Parks & Recreation Dept., was held at the Lucchesi Community Center to promote the plan and get input from the public for execution. PWA was asked to chair one of the ten booths and talk about the possible enhancements at Shollenberger/Alman Marsh.
December 12, 2010 — Volunteers from St. Mark’s Church in San Francisco
Seven parishioners from St. Mark’s Church came to Shollenberger on Sunday afternoon to help with habitat restoration. John Shribbs, science teacher at Casa Grande High School, was the contact for this group. For two-three hours, grasses were planted and chips put around the native shrubs and trees.
November 1 and 3, 2010 — Tabling at Shollenberger, 8:00 AM to Noon
Docents setup a table near Kiosk#1 at Shollenberger to recruit volunteers for the PWA educational and habitat restoration programs. Two 2-hour shifts were covered by two docents at each shift. Fifteen people indicated interest in one or both of the programs.
October 16, 2010 — RNM Fall Festival, Noon to 5:00 PM
RNM Properties, located at 1600 Corporate Circle in Petaluma, asked PWA to setup an educational table in their food court at the Adobe Creek Center parking lot at South McDowell Boulevard and Cader Lane. Two 2-hour shifts were covered by a couple of docents at each shift. A number of organizations were represented and demonstrated hands-on activities.
August 16-September 20, 2010 — PWA Exhibit at the Petaluma Regional Library
How lucky we are that the library asks us to display items which we use in our educational and restoration programs. This was the second year for the setup and more hands-on items were exhibited, some of which drew a great deal of attention.
July-August, 2010 — Sonoma County Summer Ecology Corps
This summer PWA was pleased to share a work crew of the Summer Ecology Corps with John Shribbs of the CASA Native Plant Nursery. The crew was one of a dozen or so in the county that was funded by the Sonoma County Water Agency. Members of the crew were at-risk teenagers who worked four days to remove invasive weeds from Alman Marsh and Shollenberger Park. Some of the PWA docents came out to help and interact with the kids.
June 27, 2010 — Annual PWA Docent Party, 2:00 to 5:00 PM
Docents met in Karen & Dave Johnson’s garden for a relaxing afternoon of good food and conversation to celebrate a very successful year for the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance. This was an opportunity to get to know fellow docents and learn more about all the different activities within the organization. Spouses/Partners joined in the celebration.
June 7, 2010 — Kiosks at Shollenberger/Alman Marsh
Kathleen Garvey and Mary Edith Moore gave the kiosks a much-needed cleaning and replaced the insulation around the Plexiglas, hoping to deter insects from making their home in the Kiosk. Gerald Moore came behind them and repaired the locks.
May 15, 2010 — Roots
ROOTS is the Junior High Ministry of Calvary Chapel Petaluma. John Ower, leader of Roots, brought the group with their parents and friends to Shollenberger for a habitat restoration workday. Fifty-three people pulled/cut weeds and clipped harding grass seed heads from 9:00 AM to Noon.
February 25, 2010 — Graduation Day for 11 New Docents
Eleven applicants finished the eight-week course for new wetlands docents. These graduates will be an outstanding addition to our educational program.
February 5-7, 2010 — San Francisco Flyway Festival
This annual festival celebrates the annual wildlife migration through the San Francisco Bay Estuary. Exhibits and presentations took place at Mare Island, Expo Building 897, Azuar Ave & I Street, Vallejo CA. Bob Dyer, Andy LaCasse, and Wayne Till led tours at the Ellis Creek Wetlands, 9:30 AM to Noon, Friday & Saturday morning 5 & 6 February.
January-February 2010 — Disney Volunteer Turnout
PWA signed up for the Disney Corporation promotion in which Disney would give a one-day pass to Disneyland to those who would volunteer a day’s work in the community. This program took place during January and February, rain or shine. This was a huge success for us. Over 350 people volunteered to help with planting hundreds of grasses, shrubs, and trees at Shollenberger/Alman Marsh. Thistles, mustards, and bristly ox-tongues were pulled and discarded. So much was accomplished in those seven days of volunteerism.