eNewsletter | December Edition
In this month's edition:

  • Annual Report 2019-2020
  • Virtual TEAM youth program coming soon in 2021!
  • Welcome to our newest Associate Director
  • Working lands calendar: December Highlight
  • Responses needed: Strategic Planning Survey
  • In the News: dairy soil health pilot and forest health incentive program
  • Upcoming: Soil Health Symposium goes virtual March 2021
  • Holiday craft ideas from Project Learning Tree
What's New at Your RCD
Annual Report 2019-2020: voices of our team
Our mission is to empower and partner with landowners and the community to address Sonoma County’s most pressing natural resource concerns. Since conservation is as much about people as it is about natural resources, this report reflects the voices of our staff and illustrates the dedication and years of partnerships throughout our District’s 878,862 acres. Thank you to our dedicated partners, funders, and inspiring land stewards who share our vision to conserve the land, water, soil, and wildlife that make Sonoma County so remarkable.

We hope you enjoy this report. Read the full report here as a flip book on Issuu or download and view as a PDF.
Virtual TEAM youth program - coming soon in 2021!
The Sonoma and Gold Ridge RCDs are elated to launch our NEW virtual TEAM (Teaching Agricultural and Environmental Memories) Education Program that supports an array of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in 2021. We have spent the last several months adapting our traditional three-part farm field trip experience at Open Field Farm in Petaluma to an online platform. This virtual offering is an interactive, fun and engaging farm experience available right at home. Students will explore the land and its many interconnected systems, meet the many faces of the farm workers and animals, harvest fresh food from the CSA barn, hear about community supported agriculture, and study the importance of pollinators- the smallest farmers of all! - to ag production. This three-part, asynchronous series is set up to support teachers in virtual 3rd - 5th grade classrooms. To receive the latest news about our virtual programs or to receive the "TEAM at Open Field Farm" virtual curriculum package upon program launch, email Christine Kuehn, Education and Communications Manager at ckuehn@sonomarcd.org. This program is supported, in part, by Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District, and features integral messaging that speaks to the role of the district in protecting our county’s land resources forever and whose work is funded by the taxpayers of Sonoma County.
A warm welcome to the newest member of our Board
Recently the Board nominated Beth Bruzzone as an Associate Director. Beth was born and raised in Northern California, and has had ties to Sonoma County agriculture for over 35 years. For the past 10 years, she has managed her family’s cattle business, 5B Ranches. She has three grown children, and splits her time between Sonoma Valley and Bodega. Welcome to the Board, Beth!

In other Board news, Dennis Murphy, a long-time Director stepped back to become an Associate Director, while Ariana Reguzzoni moved into the role of Director.
2020 Working Lands Calendar: December highlight
This calendar was produced in partnership with the following organizations:
Community Engagement
A request: Partner Strategic Planning Survey due 12/31
The RCD undertook our last strategic planning process in 2017. We are in the process of developing a new Strategic Plan that will guide our work for the next 3 years, and in order to be successful, we need feedback from the many stakeholders interested in conservation in Sonoma County. The survey can be completed anonymously, or you can choose to leave your name and contact info at the bottom. Either way, we truly appreciate the time and thought you put into your survey responses, and we look forward to using this feedback to guide the RCD’s future. Please complete our Strategic Planning Survey by December 31st. This survey will take 5-10 minutes of your time, and will help us chart our course for the next 3 years. Your investment of time supports conservation in Sonoma County!
In the News
Healthy Soil & Carbon Farming Pilot Project: Tresch Family Farms
Article and photo from Straus Family Creamery Newsletter
Tresch Dairy Farms, the largest milk supplier to Straus Family Creamery, received a Restore California grant from Zero Foodprint (a non-profit that mobilizes the food world around agricultural climate solutions) to implement a compost project. They used their $25,000 grant to purchase compost for 23 acres of pasture, which has the potential to sequester up to 100 tonnes of carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil per year, (up to 1000 tonnes over 10 years) while enhancing pasture productivity. The total benefit of the project will equate to reversing the emissions from burning about 110,000 gallons of gasoline. The project was planned with technical guidance from Sonoma Resource Conservation District and support from Straus Family Creamery. Recology provided the organic compost, which is made from food scraps and green waste collected from SF Bay Area restaurants. Funds for this pilot project were generated by diners at Mission Chinese Food and Handline —two restaurants that source from Tresch through relationships with Straus and Mindful Meats. Read their story here.
RCDs play a key role in forest health incentive program
Article and photo from the National Association of Conservation Districts News
“Everyone knows we can’t do it alone,” Patzek said. “We all need to collaborate, and local folks with local knowledge and relationships really are able to accelerate things.” In California’s North Bay, resource conservation districts (RCDs) have partnered with Rebuild North Bay Foundation and the Clear Lake Environmental Research Center to form the North Bay Forest Improvement Program (NBFIP) to help non-industrial forest landowners with less than 500 acres implement fuels treatments and forest restoration projects on their properties. NBFIP is being launched with $1.5 million from a CAL FIRE Wildfire Resilience and Forestry Assistance grant, which will provide three years of funding to develop an incentive program and award projects to mitigate fire and improve forest health in the highly fire-prone region. Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa County RCDs are forming a steering committee to begin structuring an incentive program similar to the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Project application and selection will follow with on-the-ground landscape work carrying through 2023. RCDs will be contributing about $277,000 in matching dollars.
Virtual Workshops | Resources
4th Annual "Soil Health Symposium" goes virtual in 2021
Our RCD Soil Health regional team is hard at work developing our fourth annual Soil Health Symposium which will be held virtually March 11-12, 2021 from 8:30 am - Noon both days. This event will bring together growers, vineyard managers, scientists, agency representatives, and others to discuss cutting edge conservation practices and the latest data from the field. Sessions will cover topics including, but not limited to: Climate Change and Soil Health - Global and Regional Perspectives, North Coast Soil Hub project, Shop Talk: Soil Health in the Field - grazing, under the vine management, compost, and more, as well as a panel on Economics and Marketing. For the latest information on the Symposium and more soil health news make sure to sign up for the Soil Hub eNewsletter and follow us: Facebook and Instagram
Keith and Mark talk water conservation
Watch this 20 minute video where Dr. Mark Greenspan, viticulturist and President of Advanced Viticulture in Windsor, CA, discusses his approach to managing irrigation in vineyards to achieve optimal grape quality using the least amount of water necessary. In this interview with Keith Abeles, the Sonoma RCD’s Soil and Water Specialist, he explains his program of using soil moisture probes in conjunction with pressure chambers and porometers to deliver precise amounts of irrigation when needed, and how to hold off when it is unnecessary. Discussing these and other tools, Dr. Greenspan provides a framework for any type of agricultural producer to grow the highest quality crop using water as efficiently as possible.
Holiday Crafts for you and the family this season!
Offered by Project Learning Tree
Crafts around the holiday season can include much more than just frosting cookies and building the traditional snowman. When students use natural materials to create fun art projects in the wintertime, it helps them form deeper connections with the outside world. 
As temperatures drop in North America’s temperate zones for the winter, trees lose their leaves, evergreens stay evergreen, animals adapt to survive, and snow covers the ground and insulates plants and certain organisms from the cold. A few common materials found outside in winter that are perfect for crafting include pinecones, branches, and seed pods. Explore their 22 fun and engaging craft ideas here!
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