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Board of Directors
Noel Douglas
Michelle Ellison
Severo Lara
Heather Mohan-Gibbons
Ched Myers
Kit Stolz
Laurie Walters
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Ojai Valley Green Coalition
Resource Center
206 N. Signal St. #S
Ojai, CA 93023
Mailing Address
206 N. Signal St. #S
Ojai, CA 93023
(805) 669-8445 
This e-newsletter is produced by the Communications & Publicity Committee
Advancing a green, sustainable,
and resilient Ojai Valley

A Change for Ojai
and for our Home Planet:


Earth Week!


a note from Russell Sydney, Executive Director


Earth Day has always been a special celebration in Ojai, but this year, in the face of so much political change, the celebration will take on new importance. What has been in the past a single day's celebration at Oak Grove School will this year become a week-long series of events throughout our town. The event has outgrown Oak Grove's School's ability to host, and with their full support, to best celebrate our planet and our environmental work for Ojai, we invite people like you to help reach out, engage and inform our community about how we can all take local action to care for our Earth. A full spectrum of events are in the works, starting to come together nicely, and your participation can help them to really take off!


The Ojai Valley Green Coalition is joining forces with the Center for Spiritual Living to create a fun-filled event at the Women's Center in Downtown. The Coalition is also working with other groups as well. One group is forming to bring the March for Science into downtown Ojai. Another group is working on creating an action oriented day of panel discussions about four key environmental issues. All of this is in addition to the efforts of the traditional sponsors of Earth Day including the Oak Grove School, Food for Thought and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.


You can help by spreading the word and getting involved in making this happen. Here's how: (read more).


New Life at Community Gardens


Heather Mohan-Gibbons, who directs the Coalition's demonstration garden efforts, enthuses about what's happening this month at the Valley of the Moon Community Garden on Baldwin Road.


"This year has been great," she said. "Everything likes rain. I haven't watered since September and things are popping up all over."


Heather Mohan-Gibbons

To attract pollinator insects such as bees and butterflies, Heather and her team of volunteers broadcast seeds such as radish and vetch and clover. To encourage the Monarch Butterfly species, in association with US Fish and Wildlife Service, they are growing 200 pots of the native milkweed species on which the Monarch depends. The idea is to make these plants available to the community, and to plant milkweed throughout the valley and along the coast.


This initiative (and the milkweed plants) will be featured as part of the Coalition's Earth Week celebration on April 15th through 22nd this year in Ojai.


This is all part of a much larger national effort to sustain the butterfly -- the best-known pollinator in North America -- that was announced in 2015 by the White House. The species has suffered a 74% decline in the last two decades in coastal California, according to a recent study by the Xerxes Society, although an annual count of overwintering winter Monarchs has been ticking up since an all-time low in 2009.


Heather credits the conservation work of Ojai resident Juliana Danaus, aka the "Monarch Mama," for inspiring the Coalition's efforts to help the much-loved butterfly species.


"I think it's fantastic," Heather says. "This is how a community garden becomes a true community, through networking with other organizations in our area, such as US Fish and Wildlife and the Monarch Arc in Ojai."


to read more click here.


Welcome New Board Member
Michelle Ellison


Our newest board member, Michelle Ellison, says Ojai captured her heart when she first arrived to visit her husband Andrew, an Ojai native. It was a prodigious visit for both Ojai and Michelle.


"I have been fortunate to call Ojai home since 2012," said Michelle, who hails from Wisconsin, and is now the mother of two young children. "My involvement with the Ojai Valley Green Coalition is motivated by my desire to work within the community on local solutions to protect our shared environment. I believe that Ojai is uniquely positioned to become a model town for sustainable practices. Combating climate change, the greatest existential threat of our time, is going to take commitment from everyone, everywhere."


According to Michelle, the battle requires taking personal responsibility within our homes and our local communities.


"That means me," said Michelle, "and each and everyone of us, right here in Ojai. My mother instilled in me a deep sense of awe and appreciation for nature throughout my childhood."


It's a gift she doesn't intend to squander and instead will draw on for strength, as she works to protect nature.


to read more click here.


March 25, 2017:


Millions of People Will Turn Off
Their Lights for Earth Hour


Pat McPherson grew up in the Kern River Valley, far from the lights of Ojai, and recalls how close the stars seemed to him in the sky at night. "I remember seeing the Milky Way, and all the stars," he recalls. "I remember we used to get up early in the morning to see the satellites. I think I've always been looking up."


After hearing a speaker from the Dark Skies Initiative, invited to Ojai by the Coalition, McPherson learned that unshielded lights outside the house at night that shone into his eyes actually reduced his night vision. "It's a fallacy to think that if we light up everything at night that we can see better," he said. "I discovered that when I shielded the lights, I could see the steps at my house much better at night because the light wasn't shining in my eyes."


McPherson went on to shield the lighting around his house. In the same spirit, to be better able to see the stars above us, for one hour on March 25th people around the planet will turn off their lights: here in the Ojai Valley we will participate from 8:30 to 9:30pm. The demonstration, known as Earth Hour, has become an interconnected global community with participants from all walks of life, from all over the world. Earth Hour is not merely an annual event, but is a continuous movement driving real actions to change the world's use of energy and bring to light the human impact on our home, planet Earth.


Since 2007 when 2.2 million people took part in the first Earth Hour in Sydney, Australia, Earth Hour has massively expanded to 178 countries and territories across seven continents and abroad the International Space Station.


One way we can modify our impact in the Ojai Valley is through the Coalition Dark Skies Initiative which promotes the international dark skies movement and coordinates local efforts. Our focus is to support residents and commercial owners shifting to more appropriate and efficient lighting while shifting our culture away from overlighting. As you may know the Ojai City Council passed an updated Exterior Lighting Standards Ordinance in 2008 and we expect the Ventura County Planning Department to begin working on an ordinance for the unincorporated Ojai Valley this year.


Join the world and the Coalition Dark Skies Work Group this March 25 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. If enough of us shut off our lights we may see the stars in a way we haven't in a very long time. You can get more information about Earth Hour here. To learn more about the Dark Skies Work Group contact Deborah at We meet the 4th Thursday each month 4-5:30 p.m. at the Coalition Resource Center.


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