eNewsletter| February Edition
In this month's edition:

  • Working lands that inspire the next generation
  • Team Spotlight: Kevin Cullinen, Project Manager
  • Steelhead Festival fun
  • Farmers Build Fire Resilience online course
  • Sustainable Equine Management workshop
What's New at Your RCD
Working lands that inspire the next generation
Steelhead Festival festivities
The RCD participates annually at this family friendly event at Lake Sonoma and the Milt Brandt Visitors Center. Watershed education booths, food trucks, music, fishing, and tours entertained approximately six thousand people. Katie Robbins, project manager and Shannon Drew, program assistant greeted visitors at our RCD booth where youth created and illustrated "watershed postcards" as a keepsake of their fish-filled experience!
2020 Working Lands Calendar: February landowner highlight
Team spotlight
Kevin Cullinen, Project Manager

Kevin's ten year anniversary with the RCD is next month! Starting as an intern he is now one of our project managers, where he leads the groundwater monitoring program and co-leads the vineyard water quality planning and implementation programs for the Sonoma Creek watershed. Kevin also serves as our GIS manager for the RCD and in 2019 he became a Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC).

Kevin says that his favorite part about his job is, "being able to visit some of the most beautiful properties in Sonoma County." He also reflected, "watching a project go from a tiny seed of an idea all they way through its completion, while helping a landowner further steward their land is a great feeling."

When asked if he had a personal story that describes how he got into this line of work he responded that, at an early age and throughout middle school his parents took him and his brothers on camping trips all over California and the Pacific Northwest. Yosemite and Lake Tahoe were some of his favorite places to go during the summer. This created a huge appreciation of nature and the environment which led him to pursue a degree in Environmental Studies and Earth Sciences at U.C. Santa Cruz. Shortly after graduating Kevin got an internship with the Sotoyome RCD (now Sonoma RCD) and the rest is history!

Something you might not know about Kevin is he is an avid traveler and has been to 11 different countries over the last six years! His most recent adventure took him to the beautiful country of Thailand, complete with ancient temples, waterfall hikes, elephant sanctuaries, Thai cooking classes, and tropical beaches. On his next trip he hopes to travel to either Japan or Croatia and Greece.

Community Engagement
Farmers Build Fire Resilience: Online Course for Farmers
Do you want to better prepare your farm or ranch and community for fire-related risk, and plan for the future collectively?  
Drawing on decades of training small-farmers amidst climate change,  MESA  in collaboration with  CAFF | The Farmer’s Guild , bring you an interactive course that will give you the technical and theoretical toolkit needed to reduce the human, production, financial and legal risks from wildfires. Utilizing MESA’s Virtual Campus for Farmers paired with CAFF’s live Town Hall meetings, you will garner actionable solutions, co-create fire response and prevention networks, and leave with an on-farm fire resilience plan to help you and your community face a future with fire.

The unpredictability and sheer magnitude of fires can leave farmers and ranchers feeling threatened and helpless. The size, longevity and intensity of wildfires is rapidly increasing in the Western region – California acreage burned in 2018 tripled the state’s annual average. This trend is expected increase as the region gets warmer and drier due to climate change. As a result, agricultural producers are faced with severe property, crop, livestock, labor and market losses and uncertainty. This course addresses farmers’ increasing need for resources, support systems and enlivening networks to build resilience for fire response, so you don’t have to face fires alone. To learn more please visit: https://learn.mesaprogram.org/fires/
Workshops
3rd Annual Soil Health Symposium - FULL
This year’s focus is on vineyard tillage management. We’re excited to host Dr. Patty Skinkis, Professor & Viticulture Extension Specialist at Oregon State University, as our featured speaker. Her presentation will cover results from a long-term vineyard floor management research trial conducted in a commercial vineyard. No till, alternate row tilling, and clean cultivated alleys were compared over a nine-year period and monitored for soil moisture, plant water stress, vine growth, and yield. The RCD will also share findings from its 3-year vineyard tillage trial in Kenwood. More program details to follow. Please join us for this informative event!

The free event will take place at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau in Santa Rosa on Friday, March 13th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Join the waitlist here! Hosted by the Sonoma and Gold Ridge Resource Conservation Districts and Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.
Sustainable Equine Management 2020
Hosted by Daily Acts and Horses for Clean Water

Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th
Saturday workshop 9:00 am to approx. 4:30 pm
Where: Petaluma, CA
(Address TBA upon registration)
Cost: $60 Registration link below

Are you dealing with dust in summer, mud in winter, and manure all year round?

Are you a stable owner or manager interested in improving chore efficiency and how well your land meets the needs of your operation?

In this fun and educational workshop, you’ll learn practical strategies and best practices that can ultimately save on vet bills and increase the value and functionality of your property, all the while helping to fight climate change and mitigate water pollution! This two-day opportunity will allow you to learn theory and technique in the classroom, and then be inspired to put your new knowledge into practice during our ranch walk and farm tours .

Saturday schedule
9:00 - 12:00 Intros & Presentation
12:00 - 1:00 Snacks, Lite lunch provided
1:00 - 2:30 PANEL DISCUSSION: New regulations and who can help
2:45 - 4:00 Outdoor Farm Walk
4:00 - 4:30 Wrap-up

Sunday, March 8th Farm Consultation  
9:00 am to approx. 4:30 pm
Cost: $95 per hour 
Sign up for an on-site consultation with Alayne Blickle at your horse facility (home or business). You may opt for an hour, 1.5 hour or 2 hour consult.  Auditors enrolled in Saturday’s course are invited to observe, gratis. Directions, times and addresses for each site-consultation will be coordinated and announced. Carpooling is encouraged.
Farm Finance Expo
Hosted by California FarmLink: One-Stop Shopping for Ag Loans and Resources for Financing Your Farm or Ranch!
The event builds on the success of our popular Farm Finance Expos held around the state. It provides an opportunity for farmers and ranchers to:
  • Meet Local Ag Lenders and Explore Financing Options
  • Take steps to Build your Farm or Ranch Business Success
  • Manage Your Farm’s Finances (Instead of Your Finances Managing You)
Panels and workshops will include lenders, farmers and trainers who will discuss agricultural loans; Farm financial planning; demystifying debt; scaling up with confidence; purchasing and selling, and offer interactive activities. The program will be available in English and Spanish.
Don’t under-invest in the future of your farm or ranch! Learn about and compare options for the best possible financing to support your success.
Attend a technical workshop to receive the latest science-based information on how to best manage your soil, water and wildlife on
your property.
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With a tax deducible donation you can support conservation projects that protects water resources, improves soil health + restores habitat for endangered species.
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