The Time for Environmental Action is NOW!

Piper Park Marsh - Resiliency Project

Betsy Clark, Alan Jones, and Kathi deFremery, MC43  spearheaded an ambitious study of the Larkspur Marsh which resulted in a detailed report and was presented to the city of Larkspur in hopes that they assume stewardship of this valuable resource. As their report outlines, marsh resiliency is an important part of mitigating sea level rise. 

Marshes also filter pollutants, provide important habitat and sequester carbon.        The Piper Park Marsh Resiliency effort  looks to the Forum membership for help in it's continuation. If you would like to be involved, contact Betsy Clark.

Marin's Climate Goals

In April and October 2017, Cory Bytof, MC 43, led a workshop focused on the Marin's Climate Action Plans (CAPs) and where we stand compared to our goals. During the lecture, they investigated the CAP for each municipality and what jurisdictions are doing to address climate change. The lecture taught the attendees how to get involved on a personal and a county-wide level. See how your jurisdiction is doing by following the Marin Sustainability Tracker.

Creek Restoration

Mary Morgan, MC 40, understood the critical role of watersheds and had to learn how to communicate the need for creek restoration at Green Gulch Farm. In 2012, she developed a presentation to articulate the importance of creek restoration and presented it not only to her fellow Master Class participants but also to a variety of audiences including donors and government agencies. 

The efforts of Mary, Prunuske Chatham, Inc., and many others at the Zen Center, bore fruit in 2014 when the creek was set free. Both wetland and riparian habitat were created, as well as improved creek habitat critical for the coho salmon and steelhead trout. 

Today the meandering waterway is once again a habitat that these fish can call home. Mary credits EFM and the rigor of the project process with helping her articulate her points so that she could persuade her audiences and gain support for this project.

Photo by Sara Tashker

Advocacy for non chemical IPM Alternatives

Marin County is a leader in ecologically sound Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Kraemer Winslow, a Master Class graduate, is once again the appointed chair of the IPM Commission. Former Environmental Forum Master Class graduates were recognized for their efforts as members of the IPM Commission by the Board of Supervisor's at their March 13, 2018. The 2017 Integrated Pest Management Report was accepted. Rika Gopinath, Barbara Bogard and Mary Fraser undertook student projects including initial advocacy to the City of San Rafael and the County Board of Supervisors to establish an IPM Program for City and County Parks and Public Spaces and advocating for non-chemical IPM alternatives in local parks and elementary schools. Barbara Bogard, IPM Core Team Member, worked on the design and implementation of the Yard Smart Campaign, educating the community at large about alternatives to chemical pest management during the last two years. Mary Fraser targeted use of glyphosate advocating for chemical free management in Parks and Public Spaces.

In 2017 Marin County Parks successfully managed 126 sites without pesticides, and conventional pesticide use decreased 86% over the previous year. Marin County uses zero glyphosate and zero rodenticide across all 147 sites governed by the County's IPM Ordinance.

County Staff oversee a cadre of volunteers and community partners who collectively contribute almost 9,500 labor hours per year to the IPM Program.

A profile: Heather Itzla and stopping plastics pollution

Tarp Your Load

Marin local residents Jill Whitebook, MC 41, and Vicky Dehnert were concerned about unsightly litter on our roadways. Sharing this same feeling with many Marin residents, they decided to take action in an effort to rid the County of this blight. They are diligently working with government officials in Marin County to resolve this problem. Their actions were recognized by Marin Magazine as Project to Watch in 2015.

Marin Open Garden Project 

Founded in 2009, by Julie Hanft, MC36, and Hilary Jeffris, the Marin Open Garden Project is an all-volunteer gardening community in Marin County which organizes weekly meetings of backyard gardeners to exchange excess fruit and vegetables and other goodies from their gardens in Mill Valley, Novato, San Rafael and San Anselmo.

Yellow Bus Challenge 

Sally Wilkinson and Jayni Allsep (MC 41) tackled the severe school-related traffic problem on Tiburon Blvd., and became the inaugural Program Manager for Yellow Bus Challenge. The Yellow Bus Challenge — a collaborative effort between the Town of Tiburon, the City of Belvedere and Reed Union School District — oversaw an expanded school bus program, offering more routes, faster travel times, campus-specific buses and half-priced bus passes to incentivize ridership. 

Results of the program over two years:

  • Increased round-trip ridership from 350 to 700 kids of a school population of 1,500
  • Reduced transit times on Tiburon Blvd by roughly 40% around school bell times
  • The overwhelming success of the program established a blueprint for other municipalities to follow suit, notably Mill Valley, with others in the works

Participation in the Master Class and the Yellow Bus Challenge were both overwhelmingly positive experiences. I came to MC41 with a superficial understanding of today’s environmental challenges and graduated with my eyes wide open. As a new resident to Marin, both the MC and the YBC served as tremendous networking opportunities for me.” – Sally Wilkinson

Master Class 43 Project Presentations

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