PWA held its 2022 annual picnic and meeting on Sunday, July 10th, under the redwoods at McNear Park. Several people expressed how good it felt to get together again, as many have either been inactive lately or doing work alone or just with one other person. The picnic satisfied our requirement for an annual membership meeting, but it was also a fun social gathering, as people shared food, drink, conversation, and games.
President John Shribbs led the meeting portion with an inspiring account that Petaluma and the County at large are prioritizing and ramping up environmental interests and plans, making them integral to their General Plans. He stated that we are in a period of significant progress and change in this regard. “We can be proud that PWA is an active and respected player in the overall picture, as we continue to maintain Shollenberger, and Allman Marsh, keeping them clean with accessible walkways and helping to ensure preservation of habitat.” PWA also provides informative signage and benches for observation and resting, and leads public bird walks, helping the public to understand and enjoy our wetlands and the plants, birds, and animals that are all part of the ecosystem. Just as important, we play a role in providing data regarding birds, nests, and hatchlings in our wetlands, as well as salinity levels.
It is important that we all share the load of this important work. Kathy reports that members contributed a combined 165 hours from April-June, even though our education program didn’t go forward this spring! There is much to do, and if you are interested in helping out, get in touch, and we will connect you! (On July 20th, there will be a bird count at Ellis Creek at, 7:30 a.m. If you are interested, even if you just want to learn more about how to recognize bird species, come on out!) PWA is also participating in an event “Ciclovia” next Sunday, July 17th, an event to encourage walking and biking and use of our cross-town Lynch Creek trail. Participants can ride or walk from Lucchesi Park to Walnut Park, with interactive booths along the way. PWA will have a booth at Walnut Park. Please stop by between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and play “Wetland Jenga” or make pinecone bird feeders with your kids and grandkids. Our new promotional bird walk postcards will be printed and on display, in both English and Spanish!
We are fortunate to have John serving as a link to the work of many other like-minded organizations as well as efforts by the City, and he updated us regarding some of these:
- ReLeaf Petaluma: Working to plant 10,000 trees to increase Petaluma’s shade canopy by 10%, prioritizing parks, schools, and “heat island areas.” City has grant to develop Urban Forestry Management Plan and plant trees in 6 eastside parks with recycled water. ReLeaf also got grant to tree out McDowell School and Park.
- Preservation of the northern branch and basin of the Petaluma River between Lynch Creek and Corona Road, halting further development to protect these areas, providing trails and an education center, flood relief. Several organizations are involved, and John is representing us.
- 15 Minute Neighborhoods and Living Streets An effort to enable residents to access everything we need: job, shopping, etc. within 15 minutes, to reduce carbon emissions and global warming. Currently 20,000 people commute both from and to Petaluma to jobs in San Francisco and elsewhere, and the goal is to reduce that by half.
- Blue Zone is coming to our town working with Health District to promote social change to increase life expectancy and also quality of life by improving health throughout the community.
- Cool Cities/Blocks Become a block leader to organize and plan with neighbors to be ready for fire and other emergencies and share ideas about conservation.
- Friends of Petaluma River Steamboat Landing area protection; Rivertown Revival Festival July 23rd and 24th.
- Daily Acts received grant for developing more rain catchment systems and food gardens.
- Ranier Avenue Biking/walking lane: The City is planning to create a dedicated, barricaded path, separate from automobile traffic, to create a safe route for crossing town without a car. This is an experimental effort to see how well it works and how it might be used on other Petaluma roads.
- Petaluma City Schools has created an initiative to put environmental education into every classroom and formed a committee of many of our local environmental leaders to guide the curriculum development.
New PWA member, Beverly Alexander, summed up her reaction to all of this: “It makes me so happy to be a part of this organization and all of this impressive work!”