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News: 06/15/2019

Ecology Center named nonprofit of the year

Sonoma Ecology Center Executive Director Richard Dale (left) and board president David Morell (right) traveled to Sacramento on June 5 to receive recognition from Senator Bill Dodd (center).

Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC) was named nonprofit of the year by state Senator Bill Dodd in acknowledgment of its 30-year history of environmental stewardship in Sonoma Valley and, most recently, for the SEC’s leadership role in post-fire recovery and the closure of the Sonoma Developmental Center.

An awards ceremony was held in Sacramento on June 5, and Sonoma Ecology Center Executive Director Richard Dale and board president David Morell traveled to the Capitol to receive the honor alongside other recipients from around the state.

Dodd’s office picked a nonprofit from each of the six counties in his district, and selected Sonoma Ecology Center as top among them. In total, only 100 nonprofits out of more than 75,000 in California are selected each year.

“I am constantly amazed at the impact Richard Dale and his group have had on our community,” Dodd said. “They’ve shown time and again their commitment to environmental stewardship while keeping the best interests of the public in mind. They are a model for others to follow. We’re fortunate to have them in our valley.”

“Senator Dodd called us ‘a model for others to follow.’ That means a lot, because we’ve always felt that working with the community to find solutions, and then scaling up those solutions for the larger world beyond Sonoma Valley, is an essential part of our mission,” said Dale.

“We hope it calls attention to the good work we do and that it inspires more people to support us in doing it.”

SEC was founded in 1990 and focuses on addressing challenges to key resources such as water, open space, wildlife and maintaining the area’s rural character. It has worked to preserve and enhance such places as Sugarloaf Ridge State Park while fostering K-6 education programs, restoration projects, and research into issues like watershed management and stream flow.

Recently, the SEC hosted public walks through wildfire-charred parts of the valley and Sugarloaf to study recovery. It also produced extensive wildfire destruction mapping to aid in cleanup of contaminants that could wash into creeks. The nonprofit is headquartered on the grounds of the now-shuttered Sonoma Developmental Center and has been closely involved in community discussions about protecting the facility’s open spaces.

For more information about the SEC, go to

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Community Calendar

Free food available for those in need
Jazz pianist Larry Vuckovich
Free CPR class at Kenwood Fire Station
Brunch on Bald Mountain
Fall Plant Sale
Jack London Gala
Emmaus Inclusive Community service and potluck supper
Walk ‘n’ Wag
Oakmont Sunday Symposium
Press Democrat sports editor to speak at SIR #53
Daylong meditation at the Depot

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