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Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood helping SV Regional Park, others


By Ann Peters, club president 2021–22

Your local Rotary Club has been extremely busy lately, raising and spending funds, putting in many volunteer hours, and looking forward to an exciting project at Sonoma Valley Regional Park next spring.

The club began meeting in person at the Kenwood Depot back in June — a welcome change after being on Zoom for over a year. At first, we were all outside on the patio, but with the advent of cooler, darker evenings, meetings, which are on the first and third Wednesday of the month from 5:30 to 7 p.m., have moved indoors. To attend an indoor meeting, the club requires that you show either proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of the meeting. Masks are required indoors except when eating and drinking.

There is also the option of attending via Zoom, as the Kenwood Community Club has purchased audiovisual equipment for hybrid meetings. Our experience with the hybrid meeting format is that it works very well.

In the past year the club has helped with, and donated to, the Dunbar Pathway Project, a successful Eagle Scout project run by local Boy Scout Tiernan Colby. We have made significant cash contributions to Sonoma Overnight Support (SOS), as well as helping out in the kitchen at the Grange in Boyes Hot Springs, where SOS runs an impressive program feeding homeless and food-insecure Valley residents. We have donated money to FISH (Friends in Sonoma Helping), which helps people in need of rent and utility assistance among other things, and to the Redwood Empire Food Bank. We volunteer with the food bank on the first and third Friday of the month, helping distribute food at Jack London Village. We also helped fund the Kenwood School Lunch Program.

Looking toward 2022, the club is partnering with the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation to renovate and improve the picnic area at Sonoma Valley Regional Park. This is the area up the hill from the dog park on Highway 12. Work will not begin until spring, when the ground is soft from winter rains (fingers crossed). The project involves grading, building retaining walls, spreading gravel, and installing new picnic tables.

According to Melissa Kelley, executive director of the Parks Foundation, parks have played an exceptionally important role during the COVID pandemic, giving people a safe space to socialize with others, as well as opportunities to sustain their mental and physical health. Sonoma Valley Regional Park hosts more than 100,000 visitors annually.

This project will give all of us a safe, comfortable place to gather outside. The picnic tables are a popular destination at the regional park, located under large oak trees that provide a cool, shady space to rest and eat, even on hot days. In addition, Sonoma Valley Regional Park serves as a site for elementary school field trips. When the field trips are not interrupted by COVID, this picnic area serves hundreds of students annually.

So you can see that our little club has been doing some big things!

If you’re interested in the Rotary Club of Glen Ellen-Kenwood, please come to one of our meetings on the first or third Wednesday of the month at the Kenwood Depot. There’s food and drink, and always an interesting speaker. The next meeting is Oct. 20 when the speaker will be Nate Myers, new superintendent/principal of Kenwood School, and on Nov. 3 we have Kent Porter, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. To find out more, or if you need a Zoom link, please contact me (Ann Peters) at [email protected] For information about membership, contact Kyle Fisher at [email protected]