Volume XIII, Issue 10: September 12, 2014

On The Calendar
September 20RISE EVENT – “Equivocation” at the Redwood Curtain Theatre – 8 pm
September 24RISE EVENT – Youth Exchange Welcome Party at Moonstone Beach – 5:30 pm
October 4 – Rotary Foundation Seminar at the Monday Club in Fortuna – 10 am to 2 pm
October 4RISE EVENT -Tailgate Party at HSU before the Jacks take on the “Hardrockers” from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology – 3 pm to Game Time October 23 – Arcata Sunrise Cross Country Championships
November 1 – Foundation Dinner North in Crescent City 
November 20 – A Taste of the Holidays


RCAS on the Road

Last Friday, we were on the road! We were on our first Field Trip of the year, traveling through the early morning fog to the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. The Center is home to Friends of the Dunes, and Executive Director (and Sunriser) Carol Vander Meer welcomed us, and gave a brief presentation. But first, we had our usual Club business …

President Barbara told us that the start of the Backpacks for Kids program was delayed, so we will begin filling the bags after our meetings beginning in October. As always, we will also need volunteers to pick up and deliver to the school. Watch for the signup email from President-Elect Howard.

We are also looking for another host family for our Exchange Student Mozara. The portion of her stay still to be covered will begin soon after Thanksgiving through early spring. If you would like a rich cultural experience or if you know a family who would be a good fit, please let President Barbara know.

Gateway to the Dunes
Carol Vander Meer has been involved with Friends of the Dunes (FOD) in various capacities for over 10 years. She started as a volunteer docent, then she worked for the organization part-time, and eventually became its Executive Director. 

She told us that some believe incorrectly believe that the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center was originally an old WWII bunker or Quanset Hut, and it does resemble both. However, it was built in 1985 by Charles and Rachel Stamps, as their retirement home. Following their passing, The “Stamps House” was sold to FOD along with 113 acres of adjacent property.

Carol Vander Meer

The renovation of the building began in 2010, and required “gutting everything”. Carol said that the Stamps had used old tires to hold the sand in place on the roof. During the renovation, volunteers had to remove and dispose of about 3,500 tires. Carol also noted that the floor of the building has been lowered about three feet – the tops of the counters against the walls are at the original floor level. This was done to accommodate radiant heat and a planned second floor. FOD moved into the building in 2011, and Carol considers it the “Gateway to the Dunes”.

The organization has been in existence since 1982. Carol told us that it started as a volunteer support group, which over the years has grown into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Carol handed out copies of a map of Humboldt Bay’s Beaches, Dunes, and Wetlands. The map was produced by FOD in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and you can view a copy by clicking HERE.

Carol narrated a brief slide presentation that highlighted many of FOD’s projects. She started with the group’s Mission Statement: “Friends of the Dunes is dedicated to conserving the natural diversity of coastal environments through community supported education and stewardship opportunities.” 

Volunteers make up the Dune Ecosystem Restoration Team (DERT), which works to remove non-native invasive plants to allow space and resources for native plants and animals. DERT volunteers meet most Saturdays, and once you work at three sites, you will receive a free DERT shirt!

Carol said that she is most proud of one of the organization’s program for schools – Bay to Dunes. Seventeen years ago, as a volunteer, she helped FOD get a grant to begin this program. Bay to Dunes has touched almost all of the elementary schools in Humboldt County over the years, with about 2,000 children exploring the dunes, supplemented by in-class visits by FOD staff and volunteers. Carol recently encountered a woman who remembered her from when her class took a field trip to the dunes years before.

FOD also has the Coastal Naturalist Program for students in junior and senior high school. This also provides hands-on opportunities to investigate coastal ecosystems, which may fuel an interest in future conservation careers!

Carol discussed the varied topography found in the dunes, which allows the area to support such diverse plant species.
She showed photos of several of those species, noting their ability to adapt to their ever-changing environment. 

For a wealth of additional information about the area and about Friends of the Dunes (including how to become a member), visit http://www.friendsofthedunes.org/

Manila SWOT Proposal
Scott Heller is the co-chair of our Club’s Community/Senior Service Committee. At Friday’s meeting, he reminded us that we have long been committed to the Manila area, noting that our Adopt-A-Highway section of Samoa Boulevard runs directly through the community, saying that “we own the road from the Mad River Slough to the Samoa Bridge”.

He told us that the Committee is planning a new project in the area – assisting the new Manila Family Resource Center, which is housed in two buildings on the Manila School campus. The plan is to take our SWOT model (Serving With Our Talents), and providing an “Extreme Makeover”, much as we did in our initial SWOT project with the McKinleyville Family Resource Center in August 2010. 

Our Club will once again head up a group of volunteers that will provide a wealth of services – building, painting, organization, etc. – to help the new Center better serve its public. Click here to watch a Laura Montagna’s video discussing the Center’s needs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NckvCw0LZ7o. Carol Vander Meer noted that this is an opportune time for us to provide needed assistance to the Manila community. The project will provide welcome focus to an area that is ready to come into its own.

President Barbara is excited about the latest project. She said that Governor-Elect Erin Dunn has asked her to head up a district-wide SWOT Committee, which will help each Club in District 5130 develop a SWOT project. (Barbara drafted Scott as her co-chair at Friday’s meeting – we’ll see whether it sticks!)