At CalNat, we are grateful for the partnerships we've formed with over 55 organizations across the state with whom we share a vision of a more sustainable and just future. This year we are particularly grateful for our new partners that represent several Indigenous cultures across California. We are honored by their choice to work with us and the wisdom they bring to our program.
While our focus is forward looking and hopeful, we'd be remiss not to reflect on our complicated and shared history. We acknowledge the stolen lands we revere, live, and recreate on. We honor the Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Native peoples, the first naturalists, as the foundation of everything we have learned and teach. We stand in allyship with people who experience these aforementioned traumas either generationally or first-hand in the world they navigate now.
Regardless of how you choose to give thanks during this time, whether you share a meal and your gratitude, mourn, protest, or fast…, we hope you will join us as we build more relationships around respect and an appreciation of what we all bring to the table.
We are excited to let all California Naturalists, Climate Stewards, and course partners know that we are nearing the final stages of a big transition to a new and much improved Volunteer Management System! Ever feel a little frustrated with the limitations and service disruptions in our current system? We hear you, we share your frustrations, and we think you'll really like the new system!
We anticipate the Volunteer Management System will be available in mid-February 2022. We have chosen a custom built system developed by Oregon-based Ideal-Logic. There may be up to two weeks of system downtime in early February. We'll provide short training videos and FAQ to assist new users. We believe that users will find the new system more intuitive and robust. For central UC California Naturalist staff and our course partners, the new system will streamline data collection systems, trigger volunteer milestones, and make reporting simpler.
California Naturalists and Climate Stewards that want to receive a 40-hour annual service pin for 2021 will have until January 31 to enter their 2021 volunteer hours in the current system. As with 2020 we have opted to lower the hours requirement to receive a service pin from 40 hours down to 15 to accommodate the safety issues and closures stemming from COVID-19 as well as impacts from another long and destructive wildfire season.
2020 Volunteer pins have arrived but have NOT been sent to individuals. Please look for an email soon from Eliot Freutel describing your delivery options. We know you'll love them, and hope you think they were worth the wait!
Thank you for the work you do to increase the resilience of California's ecosystems and communities. We appreciate you.
- Author: Joy Shindler Rafey
The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP) conducted the ANROSP Annual Awards Ceremony as part of the organization's 2021 Annual National Conference.
The UC California Naturalist Program was recognized with the 2021 ANROSP Outstanding Educational Materials Award for their UC Climate Stewards curriculum. This award recognizes ANROSP member programs for their development and use of educational materials including print, video, online technology, or other program materials/applications.
Shelly Johnson, ANROSP President with the Florida Master Naturalist Program, said "ANROSP provides member programs an opportunity to share their best work in the areas of Outstanding Educational Materials, Outstanding Volunteer Project, Outstanding Team, Outstanding Program Evaluation and Program of the Year. Each year ANROSP is proud to highlight programs from across the United States in each of these categories." Award applications are peer reviewed and selection is made by the ANROSP Awards Committee, chaired by an ANROSP Board Member.
The Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs is an international network of natural resource programs with the mission of promoting awareness and stewardship of natural resources through science-based education and service programs.
For more information on the UC California Naturalist Program's UC Climate Stewards curriculum, please contact Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards Academic Coordinator, California Naturalist Program, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-482-4633.
This week we say “see you down the trail” to our Sierra/Central region Community Education Specialist, Sarah Angulo. Please join us in thanking Sarah for years of hard work and devotion to CalNat! Sarah joined our team almost four years ago, and as a UC Santa Cruz Environmental Studies and Natural History Field Quarter graduate with plenty of non-profit experience, she was a home run for the position. She came with well-honed environmental education skills, excellent community contacts, innate creativity, and a strong natural history background. Once here, Sarah helped us expand and clarify our participatory science work, was a social media ace, served as our go-to for GIS maps, facilitated well thought out and creatively executed trainings, and used her justice lens to find tangible ways to make our events and programs more inclusive. We'd be remiss to mention that Sarah excelled at something less glamorous that most people never saw, but all benefited from: she applied well developed project management and organizing skills to the chaotic task of working with so many diverse organizations around the state. She served 25+ organizations, co-developed numerous new courses, was a spreadsheet pro, and kept us on track and streamlined our processes. Our whole team will sorely miss Sarah, but we are excited for her as she takes on a new role as Programs and Communications Manager with the Water Education Foundation in Sacramento. We know many of you will want to keep in touch with Sarah, too. Here's her personal email, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
- Author: Adina M. Merenlender
Guest author Adina Merenlender is the founding Director of the UC California Naturalist program, and writes about the North Coast Biogregion for California Biodiversity Week 2021.
California's Northern Coastline is a refugia where the local climate is relatively stable compared to rates of climate change in other parts of California. This is particularly true if we continue to experience a drier future under climate change. The resilience to immediate rapid change is due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean and the topographic diversity of the coastal mountain ranges.
Steep coastal watersheds provide an escape route for species to move up to higher elevation or down to cool air drainages to escape the heat. Summer fog buffers terrestrial plant communities from extreme heat and freezing temperatures and frost is rare close to the ocean, making for more mild winter temperatures. The mild temperatures and higher humidity year-round are ideal conditions for plant growth and the Northcoast harbors very diverse plant communities.
For many, redwoods, the charismatic mega-flora, that create unparalleled cathedrals filled with majestic qualities may come to mind. But those towering trees leave little sun or nutrients for the plants below. The real biodiversity hotspots are coastal prairie and scrub communities where rare flowering plants can still be enjoyed. Whereas interior woodland wildflowers come and go over a short Spring season, coastal prairies offer a seemingly ever-changing wildflower show from January through September. The show starts with manzanita and Lupin and ending with pearly everlastings and Dudleyas.
These coastal refugia might provide endemic plant communities time as temperatures rise, but we need to act now to curb greenhouse gas emissions so that these cooler moist areas can persist over a longer time horizon.
September 4-12, 2021 is California Biodiversity Week. Join us in celebrating the unique biodiversity and renewing our commitment to stewarding the state's incredible natural heritage! During the Week, CalNat is posting blogs authored by members of our community, ending in our September 14th CONES event from noon-1:00 PM. Be sure to also check out a list of activities and resources online from the CA Natural Resources Agency!