News From the Center

 

From the Center

April/May 2020

Larry Glass

 

It’s with a mixture of sadness and gratitude that I announce our wonderful Administrative & Development Director Bella Waters has accepted a full-time position with the Environmental Services department at the City of Arcata. While I personally will mourn the loss of my great work partner, Bella, I’m at the same time very happy for her and her family for this great opportunity. Financial and health security have to be at the top of all of our agendas in this day and age. On behalf of the Board and the NEC membership, we wish Bella the best of success in her new position. We’d like to give a shout out to former NEC Board President and Bella’s new boss, Mark Andre, for being so gracious in helping with the transition.

Let’s take a minute and reflect on some of the accomplishments that the NEC experienced during Bella’s tenure. 

  • Reorganized operations.
  • Maintained office hours.
  • Formed a tight working relationship with staff.
  • Supervised the move from the Greenway building to our current permanent location.
  • Helped tremendously to coordinate the beginnings of the cleanup efforts of our 9th street property.
  • Oversaw the awarding and implementation of grants like the Whale Tail Grant for our CLEAN!: Coastal Learning, Education and Action Now! Project; Arcata Main Street, Oyster Festival Aquaculture Support Fund for our Adopt-a-Block Program; and Alaskan Brewing Co.’s CODE Grant for our Encouraging Community Wide Zero Waste Efforts program. 
  • Helped build capacity at the NEC, which now includes two more paid staff members.
  • Developed a comprehensive employee handbook, and educated the Personnel Committee on the latest rules and regulations regarding employment in the state of California.
  • Helped create charters for all of our active committees.
  • Reactivated the Conservation Committee and developed several new committees (Tech, Personnel).
  • Enhanced the effectiveness and organization of events.
  • Increased guidance and support for our intern program. 
  • Enhanced the lending library and supported zero waste goals at events with the addition of linens. 
  • Oversaw the transition from the outdated website to a more functional WordPress site.

The Personnel Committee conducted a thorough hiring process, reviewing a number of great applications.  We’d like to introduce you to our new Administrative & Development Director Carrie Tully. Carrie is a graduate student in the Environment & Community program at HSU.  Motivated by her own complex life experiences, Carrie strives to build stronger relationships with her human and more-than-human community.  In her downtime you can find her at the beach with her daughter and their dog, Indi. We’re excited to welcome Carrie on board.

50th Anniversary of Earth Day

NEC Board Member, Dan Sealy, is in the early stages of working on the history of the NEC in preparation for our 50th anniversary next year. In speaking with some who were there at the first organizing meetings, it has become clear that formation of the NEC was in direct response to the first Earth Day in 1970. Local environmentalists and conservation organizations, as well as HSU faculty and campus groups, were seeking ways to educate the public on issues raised on Earth Day, from concerns about the widening of a local freeway to outrage over oil spills on California beaches and increasing air pollution. A “Center” was raised as a way to unite disparate groups and people around issues of importance, groups which, up to that point, had had little strategic communication or unified actions. The NEC still embodies those strategic roles of education, organizing and action.

To help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the NEC is organizing a beach clean up on Sunday, April 26th. See page ___ for more details. 

Huffman’s Public Lands Bill Update

Rep. Jared Huffman’s Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act (HR 2250) has passed out of the House of Representatives as part of a package of bills called Protecting America’s Wilderness Act. The next step is introduction in the Senate. That has just happened.

Our Senator, Kamala Harris, has introduced “The PUBLIC Lands Act” (S.3288) which contains the three California bills passed out of the House of Representatives in February as part of H.R.2546, the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act.

Senator Harris’s bill would expand protections to over 1 million acres of public lands while also increasing access and opportunities for outdoor recreation across California. The bill is supported by a large and diverse coalition of local, regional, and national stakeholders and advocates for our public lands.

Senator Harris has requested that S.3288 be included in the next group of bills presented for a legislative hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The NEC and its member group S.A.F.E. will continue to be involved trying to push this bill forward through the Senate. 

Climate News

Worldwide, this February was among the warmest Februarys on record.  Locally, Trinity and Shasta Counties received zero rainfall for the month, breaking all records. Not a good sign as we approach another fire season. Particularly worrying after watching what happened in Australia, where over a million animals were lost to many stubborn fires. We can only be hopeful that more snow and rain this spring will help lessen the severity of the threat. 

Spring Dinner & Dance

What a night! Thanks to everyone who came out for our largest fundraiser of the year. While our turnout was somewhat less than prior years, our silent auction was hopping! Huge thanks to Kingfoot for their musical talents, Jeff Kelly for providing the sound and all the equipment, Jeff St. John and Richard Beresford for mixing and pouring the drinks, Chris Beresford and Barbara Reisman for the table pieces and keeping the food flowing, Kris Diamond for securing so many amazing silent auction donations, Tiffany Perez and Denise Jones for providing immense kitchen support, and Megan Bundy for her amazing photos of the event and the photo booth. We couldn’t pull off an event of this size without them and many other volunteers. Thanks to our strong and loyal business community who donated amazing silent auction items, food and drink. You can view a list of these businesses on page 3. If you missed this one, be sure to attend in 2021 for our 50th celebration! 

New Work Study

We’d like to welcome our new Work Study student, Brittany Kleinschnitz, who will be assisting with events and office tasks. Brittany is obtaining her Masters of Social Work degree from HSU and would ultimately love to conduct wilderness excursions for youth. She’s received her California Naturalist Certification and has volunteered for a number of organizations including the Mission: Wolf Sanctuary in Colorado, assisted with tri-county bat surveys in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties and is currently volunteering at the Southern Humboldt Family Resource Center. Be sure to introduce yourself next time you’re in the office. 

Reusable Water Bottles

Thanks again to all who have donated reusable water bottles to share with the Raven Project. Unfortunately, the Raven Project lost a significant amount of funding and had to reduce its hours and programs. We’ll be partnering with the Arcata House Annex to ensure your reusable bottles are given another opportunity to cut down on single-use plastic! The Arcata House Annex provides advocacy and services to those who are homeless or facing food insecurity.

 

The Coronavirus (COVID-19)

After we wrote this article, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) upended business as usual for everybody and the NEC is no exception. We’re practicing social distancing, or as we like to call it spacious solidarity, and the office will be closed until further notice. Staff will be working from home and meetings will be held via phone.