On June 24, 2023, Greenbelt Alliance supporters gathered at Tom and Rebecca Birdsall’s beautiful home for our annual Sonoma Luncheon. Our guests mingled over drinks and a gorgeous view of the Sonoma Hills before our delicious, sustainable farm-to-table lunch. Our hosts, Tom and Rebecca, graciously offered to supply our event with their family-owned Black Kite Cellars wine. They also shared their personal story of wildfire resilience by recanting the time that their home was used as a staging area for firefighters to fight the Nunns Fire.
Our guests had a wonderful time in a beautiful and inspiring setting. You can view photos of the gathering here and view a few below.
Chaired by board member, Laney Thornton, 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 $65,000 to support our work in Sonoma County—a fitting number for our 65th anniversary. These gifts came from many first-time donors who we are thrilled to welcome into our community, as well as many long-time friends of Greenbelt Alliance, whose ongoing support we cherish.
Extreme wildfires are growing larger, more frequent, and more damaging, and they are not going away. Funds raised will help Greenbelt Alliance make a difference in Sonoma County to co-exist safely with wildfire. We believe that land use – where we choose to grow our cities and how we use our lands – is critical to reducing the amount of destruction we will see from future fires. Good land use decisions look like homeowners protecting their properties, neighbors forming Fire Safe Councils to work collaboratively, advocates keeping development out of high fire risk areas, and cities and counties protecting and managing entire greenbelt buffers that can in turn protect us from wildfires.
We’re excited to be piloting a unique partnership with Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to bring more of these greenbelt buffers to the county.
We’d like to thank Misti Arias, General Manager of Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, CC Ciraolo, our North Bay Resilience Manager, and Sarah Cardona, our Deputy Director, for expertly communicating our vision for wildfire resilience in the North Bay.
A New North Bay Focus
Just this week Greenbelt Alliance officially launched our Resilience Hotspots initiative which identifies climate risks and solutions in 18 locations throughout the Bay Area. We’re starting our work in 5 of these Hotspots, and one of them is Southwest Santa Rosa, not far from where we hosted the Sonoma Luncheon.
In Santa Rosa, we are working with local organizations, like Latino Service Providers, to address extreme heat and build climate resilience. This includes getting community and government support for climate resilience investments and developing green infrastructure projects in places like schoolyards to decrease extreme heat risk to vulnerable populations. We look forward to publishing our Southwest Santa Rosa Community Profile this July in the next phase of our launch.
If you would like to donate toward our critical work in advocating for wildfire buffers, 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!