(members: Chris Poehlmann, Lynn Walton, Pat Maxwell,
Nathan Ramser, Rachael Klapko, Brody Klapko, Laura Baker, Chair)
When the Friends of Gualala River (FoGR) Education and Outreach Committee formed 4 years ago, we came together over the idea that providing the Gualala River watershed community with good factual, science-based information was key to the success of protecting the river and its watershed. The projects that we have undertaken since then have been inspired by that goal. Here’s what we’ve been up to this past year.
Previously, there was no way for residents and visitors to know the boundaries of the Gualala River watershed, a key obstacle to establishing a sense of place. Working with CalTrans and Public Works Departments in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, Lynn Walton, Pat Maxwell, and Chris Poehlmann ordered and erected 9 signs. These signs are placed in strategic locations along public roads and alert the public that they are entering the Gualala River watershed.
The Conservation Fund donated money for one of the signs located along Skaggs Springs Road near their Buckeye Forest property.
Webinars for the Public
Preservation Ranch / Buckeye Forest
The pandemic has prevented us from holding speaker events in person, so in June, 2020 we hosted a webinar with local artist and naturalist, Liam Ericson. Liam has explored much of the nearly 20,000 acres of The Conservation Fund’s Buckeye Forest, aka “Preservation Ranch.” Currently there is no public access to this portion of the watershed, which lies in the northern and eastern portions. Over 100 people tuned in to participate in this virtual event.
Salmonids in the Gualala River
On January 28, 2021, we will be hosting a webinar on salmonids in the Gualala River by Jacob Katz. Dr. Katz is a fish biologist with deep knowledge of the fish of our watershed and what is needed to bring their populations back from their present dangerously low levels.
Social Media and Wikipedia
Thanks to local FoGR member and IT specialist Rachael Klapko, FoGR now has an active social media presence on Instagram and Twitter to add to our Facebook page. We are using social media to disseminate information about FoGR events as well as about nature in the watershed. Currently about 2,000 people follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on these platforms and be sure to share your comments and photos of the watershed.
We’re also attempting to get a Wikipedia article on FoGR published. Brody Klapko has submitted several drafts which are under review by Wikipedia editors.
Working with Other Conservation Organizations
As part of our outreach efforts, our committee often works with other organizations where our interests in protecting the watershed coincide. Nicholas Pinette reached out to Save the Redwoods League via phone and letter to begin to collaborate on future uses of the spectacular Harold Richardson Memorial Preserve, a 730+ acre acquisition of the League’s that hosts enormous old growth redwoods. FoGR hopes to play a role in future public programs there.
The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy has announced the exciting acquisition of the Mill Bend property along the Gualala estuary. FoGR volunteer Laura Baker has served on the initial Technical Advisory Committee to add input to decisions about restoration opportunities on the property as well as providing information on protections for wildlife there.
In addition to working with other organizations, we work closely with the FoGR Board. Two of our committee members, Nathan Ramser and Lynn Walton, are board members and help to refine our communications with the Board.
The Education and Outreach Committee welcomes your participation. We meet approximately once a month via Zoom. If you are interested, please contact Laura Baker at Lbake66@aol.com. We are looking for help with the following tasks:
- send notification & agendas of upcoming meetings of FoGR’s Working Group;
- send periodic updates to our members about FoGR news;
- create content for our social media platforms.