Picture of Nora Cullinen

Nora Cullinen

Harvesting Hope: A Sonoma Luncheon for Wildfire Resilience

On May 18, 2024, Greenbelt Alliance supporters gathered at William and Helga Andereck’s beautiful home for our annual Sonoma Luncheon. Our guests mingled over drinks and participated in a special garden tour before our delicious, sustainable farm-to-table lunch. Our hosts, Bill and Helga purchased the property, Frog Creek Farm in 2015, and have been stewarding and cultivating the land ever since. They lead an active life of planting in the Spring (mostly from seeds), growing in the Summer, harvesting in the Fall and canning veggies and freezing prepared dishes thereafter, ensuring that their delicious offerings can be enjoyed throughout the year.

You can view more photos of the gathering on our Flickr album here. This year, we also captured a video of our event which you can watch here.

Our guests had a wonderful time in a beautiful and inspiring setting. Every year we host this event for our Sonoma Leadership Council, a group of supporters in the North Bay who donate $1,000 or more annually towards the work we do in the region. Our work would not be possible without our donors, and this is a great opportunity to thank them and help raise funds for ongoing projects in Sonoma County and beyond.

Building a Lasting Impact

At this year’s event, we raised over $75,000 to support our critical work in Sonoma County. Greenbelt Alliance is working in fire-prone areas to bring together the right people, landscapes and policies that will reap the biggest impact in preparing for future wildfires. 

We are leading a pilot project in partnership with Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District that will provide long-lasting wildfire risk reduction to vulnerable communities. In the final pilot phase, we are collaborating with fire professionals, local government, landowners and nonprofits to plan a wildfire buffer zone with different land-use strategies that will reduce risk and support post-wildfire recovery.

We’d like to thank Crystal Kolden, Director of the UC Merced Fire and Climate Resilience Center and Sarah Cardona, our Deputy Director, for expertly communicating our vision for wildfire resilience in the North Bay. We are also deeply appreciative of the longtime support of our Board members in attendance–Chair of the Sonoma Leadership Council, Laney Thornton, Jake Mackenzie, Dee Swanhuyser, and Laurel Prevetti.

Bay Area Resilience Hotspots Initiative — Southwest Santa Rosa

As part of the event’s program, we also highlighted our Resilience Hotspot work in the North Bay. Greenbelt Alliance has identified Resilience Hotspots throughout the Bay Area where lands and communities are at greatest risk of climate hazards. Places where investing in people and leading with nature will change the trajectory of our region’s future so that people and ecosystems thrive.

Southwest Santa Rosa is a Resilience Hotspot due to vulnerability to extreme heat and wildfire impacts. The prevalence of housing insecurity in this community — largely made up of renters — means that individual interim strategies like home hardening and air conditioning are not readily available, making collective action a critical component of building a more resilient neighborhood. Learn more about the Southwest Santa Rosa Hotspots work at greenbelt.org/southwest-santa-rosa.

Greenbelt Alliance is working with local organizations like Latino Service Providers to advance climate solutions such as green infrastructure projects that will expand tree canopy, and promote the creation of new community parks and green schoolyards that will decrease heat impacts and improve health outcomes.

If you would like to donate toward our critical work, or join our Sonoma Leadership Council, click here. Thank you again to our wonderful supporters for helping us work to build a safer and more resilient Sonoma County!

We’re also pleased to announce the hiring of our new North Bay Resilience Manager, Ann Hamilton. If you have any questions about our work in this region, please don’t hesitate to contact her at ahamilton@greenbelt.org.

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