20th Annual Dinner celebrates a healthy Conservancy

It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces on Saturday at the 20th annual Foothill Conservancy dinner. This year’s dinner honored Dr. Bob Hartmann and Mary Ellen “Mel” Welsh for their years of contributions to the community. We filled the lawn to capacity with friendly folks who enjoyed a delicious local farm-to-table meal from Outer Aisles catering in Murphys while sipping on delectable wines from Terre Rouge and Easton Winery with a view of the vineyards. The sweet melodies of the Wicked Sisters wandered through the crowd as guests perused items available via live auction, silent auction and a raffle.

With so many challenges and changes lately, it has never been more important to get together and make positive memories, to spend time with those we cherish and to savor the parts of life that bring us joy and meaning. I am so grateful for the opportunity to let loose and enjoy great company, food, wine and music in a lovely and comfortable environment. Thank you to all those who were able to attend – your presence, your support, and your energy were all vital components of a great evening. It would not have been the same without you.

As the sun was quickly setting and the temperatures dropping with it, I refrained from going into detail about our most recent work. Please keep reading to learn more about the work we’ve been up to lately.

Our land use team celebrated victory after reaching a settlement agreement over the Edwin’s Lands litigation we filed earlier in the year. The land use team gets no rest however as a new proposal has come forward in Ione for SGI to expand their quarry operations in scope and time – requesting a new permit to extend into 2175 that would mean any restoration of the site would not even begin in our lifetimes.

Through the various coalitions we participate in, I have been collaborating to help garner more funding for fuels reduction and prescribed burn projects locally, improve the post-fire restoration process on Forest Service lands, ensure adequate monitoring occurs through the Mokelumne hydropower project, working to ensure lands are conserved locally through the 30-by-2030 initiative and more.

We continue to host successful monthly cleanups at unhoused encampments around Jackson and are now providing regular trash service for a segment of the unhoused in Jackson, with the generosity of ACES waste disposal.

While seeking a candidate to fill the now vacant watershed conservation and land use advocate position, I have been covering both roles as executive director and advocate without any extra hours. Good news is on the horizon as I hope to have a new advocate onboard well before the end of October. I look forward to having new energy and help, as well as being able to focus more on my role as executive director.

So many individuals went above and beyond to support our annual dinner this year.

Jane O’Riordan and Bill Easton generously opened up the grounds at Terre Rouge and Easton Wines for our event, donated bottles of wine and provided staffing for the bar. Thank you for providing a lovely venue for our guests and for helping quench their thirst with your delicious wines.

Many volunteers helped coordinate the event, with Nancy Nieland as lead organizer. Thank you Nancy for your leadership and thank you Marta Brady-Johnson, Carolyn Schooley, Susan Bragstad and Mara Feeney for your organizational support. Thank you to the volunteers who came out to help park cars, serve food, clean up after the event and more.

Thank you to our Bronze Foothills sponsors – East Bay Municipal Utility District and Mosquito Gulch Studio, and thank you to our Emerald Forest sponsors – Lynn Morgan and Pat Minyard, Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation, Amador Olive Oil and Joyce Hartmann Karpei.

Thanks to those who provided items for the raffle, silent auction and live auction – your donations mean so much. Ridge Road Nursery, Nancy Nieland, Gold Trails Natural Foods, Alan Vosburg and Gaily Schifsky, Anne Hellman, Recreational Railroad Coalition Historical Society, Jeff Holman Quick Lube, Susan Bragstad, Ron Antone and South River Lavender, Daniel D’Agostini, Ruth Gottstein, Mokelumne Hill Nuts and Gifts, JoAnn Levy, Petroglyphe Gallery, David and Dixie Camardo, Carolyn Schooley, Break Even Beer, Mary Ann Kelley, Feist wines, Alice Kaiser, La Mesa Vineyards, Yorba, Suzanne and Allen Kreutzer, Volcano Union Pub, Well Read Books, Hotel Sutter, Haydon’s Landscape, Debbie Rangell, Hotel Leger, Marta Brady-Johnson, Bellflower Garden Art & Home Décor, Mike Mahoney, Jen Haffloff of Sandrock Farm, Mel and Bob Hartmann, Lucy Spangler-Gore of Lucy’s Spice Box and the Wicked Sisters.

Thank you to the Foothill Conservancy Board – to become an organization over 30 years strong takes a tremendous amount of support and dedication, and a strong and committed board. Thank you for all that you do to support Foothill Conservancy. 

– Megan Fiske, Executive director

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Larry Patterson, Director, Camanche Village, CA:  MS Civil/Transportation Engineering UC Berkeley, BS Civil Engineering University of Texas, private consultant, former City Manager of San Mateo, recipient of the League’s James L. Martin Award in 2012