The Tuolumne River once boasted a plentiful salmon run in the spring and the fall. Now, multiple dams along with irrigation projects that direct water away from the river reduce flow so much that the spring run has ended entirely. Fish collected from the stretch of the river that flows through Stanislaus County display high levels of industrial chemicals, while homeless encampments and illegal dumping often lead to a build-up of hazardous trash along the banks. Rose Foundation grantee the Tuolumne River Trust (TRT) is rebuilding the local community’s relationship to the river and giving them the tools to help restore it. “It’s not just about the infrastructure, it’s about connecting the community near the river to be stewards of the river,” says Edgar Garibay, TRT’s community relations manager.
“Así es como hacemos que los estudiantes de quinto grado presten atención.” Arrodillándose en las dunas en un mechón de trigo sarraceno nativo, nuestra guía engatusó una hormiga roja gruesa sobre sus dedos, se la metió entre los dientes y rápidamente la mordió a la mitad. Sonriendo, nos ofreció nuestra propia hormiga para probar. “Sabe a limones”, dijo, “pero tienes que morderlas rápido antes de que te muerdan.”
Inspired to take action to protect California’s water resources, Program Officer Megan Mubaraki has become the second Rose Foundation staff member to join the River Advocacy Training School (RATS). Led by Friends of the River, RATS teaches students to lead the movement for protecting California’s rivers, and also educates them about the policies that govern water in California.
The year 2017 brought us many troubling events and headlines, but we continue to find inspiration within our community of colleagues, grantees and supporters. We are grateful for your support and partnership as we continue to make Good News for communities and the environment in 2018 and beyond.
The Rose Foundation was pleased to learn that our New Voices Are Rising program earned a grant through the California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening Grant Program to green the Academy’s campus! We’ve drafted a plan to plant 48 trees on the Coliseum College Prep Academy campus and break up and remove pavement to let the soil breathe.
Astronomers will tell you how unique and priceless Earth’s breathable atmosphere seems when looking at the toxic clouds on Venus or the nearly airless deserts of Mars, but most Bay Area residents who on most days enjoy clear skies hadn’t reflected on the value of the air they breathe until the Northern California fires filled the region with smoke.
“Here’s how we get the fifth graders to pay attention.” Kneeling on the dunes in a clump of native buckwheat, our guide coaxed a fat red ant onto her fingers, popped it between her teeth and quickly bit it in half. Grinning back at us, she offered the rest of us our own ant to try…
This World Rivers Day, September 24, the Rose Foundation reflected on the value of rivers, and our role in protecting these vital veins and arteries of our planet. In many ways California is on the leading edge when it comes to environmental protection, yet of the over 66,000 miles of assessed rivers in the state, over 90% are too degraded or polluted to meet state water quality standards.
Cleaning products are meant to remove dirt and germs from our homes, but often do so using toxic chemicals. We awarded the Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) a $50,000 grant through our Consumer Products Fund to promote the use of greener cleaning products among Latino immigrant domestic workers.
Our students’ learning journey this summer has taken them to the American River, the Richmond refinery communities, and the EBMUD West Oakland wastewater treatment plant. Students also planted trees to provide shade for a local nursery school, met with legislators in Sacramento, and completed externships to gain work experiences with local environmental organizations.