Dennis Cavallo & Sarah Darney
Land Steward of the Year and Volunteer of the Year
By Janet Voris
Placer Land Trust recently presented two Auburn residents with special awards for their volunteer efforts.
Dr. Dennis Cavallo was named the 2012 Land Steward of the Year, and Sarah Darney the 2012 Volunteer of the Year.
PLT presents these awards annually to volunteers who have made exceptional service contributions to the organization.
Dennis is a native Californian and has lived in Christian Valley with his wife Sharon since 1975. He began volunteering with us in 1991, when we were still the Placer Land Trust & Nature Center, making him one of PLT’s longest running volunteers – over 20 years! The land trust and nature center split in 2002 to become two separate non-profit organizations, and Dennis continued volunteering with PLT after the split.
Most recently, Dennis made significant contributions to PLT’s burrowing owl habitat restoration efforts. Our Swainsons Grassland Preserve and Doty Ravine Preserve are home to the only known year-round populations of burrowing owls in Placer County. Burrowing owl numbers have been declining in California and they are a state-listed species of special concern.
Dennis helped install and repair artificial nest systems designed to increase the burrowing owl population and subsequently helped monitor and document our success.
“Dennis has provided advice on construction methods of the nests and continues to assist us in creating suitable homes and habitat for Placer County burrowing owls,” says PLT Land Manager Justin Wages. “The time he’s spent volunteering on this project has made a significant impact to our success.”
“I volunteer my time because I enjoy being outdoors and helping with habitat conservation,” said Dennis. “I never expected to receive an award for doing it, but I’m honored to be recognized.”
Dennis enjoys kayaking, nature and photography, and has a special affinity for taking pictures of birds.
Sarah Darney came to PLT in January 2012 through a Placer County work experience program.
She volunteered in the office for 24 hours a week to develop new skills for future employment. She logged approximately 360 hours of volunteer time in just a few months.
Sarah left the workforce several years ago to raise her children. Like many, she returned to work when the economy took a downturn at a time when jobs were scarce. Her prior work experience was mostly retail, so the County thought PLT could help her gain some office-base work experience and help build her résumé.
“We were thrilled to get a volunteer like Sarah because she is willing to take on any task,” explained PLT Assistant Director Jessica Daugherty. “One of her first projects was an internal audit of all our property files. It was a huge undertaking! She worked with staff and other volunteers and completed the project in record time, which was a huge contribution and a relief to all of us.”
Sarah has also been a tremendous help with our summer renewal process and has assisted PLT with several of our recent events. After a few months volunteering in our office on the County work experience program, she was accepted into the Golden Sierra Job Training program changing from a volunteer to a paid position.
Currently, she is a temporary PLT employee working through the Placer County subsidized wage program.
Sarah has lived in Auburn most of her life and has three children. She’s the co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, and she is a big San Francisco Giants fan. She likes to travel and enjoys sewing and arts & craft projects.
“Placer Land Trust is truly honored to have people as dedicated as Dennis and Sarah volunteering with us,” says Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “Our volunteers are a vital part of our organization which helps our staff immensely.”
Previous PLT volunteer award recipients include: Anita Yoder, Deren Ross, Patty Ruud, Nancyjo Rieske, Bill & Georgia Flake, Gary Wells, and Karl Mertz.
From the Board Room:
Welcome Barbara Brenner
By Fred Yeager
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce the addition of Newcastle resident Barbara Brenner to our Board of Directors.
Barbara Brenner is a founding partner of Churchwell White LLP, a Sacramento law firm with expertise in environmental and natural resources, land use, real estate and municipal law. Her practice focuses on water resources, water quality, endangered species, land use, and related regulatory matters.
Barbara grew up in Loomis and now resides on her family’s 80-acre Brenner Ranch in Newcastle. She graduated from Del Oro High School in Loomis. She received her B.A. from Sonoma State University before moving back to Placer County in 1987.
Barbara obtained her law degree from McGeorge Law School in Sacramento, and an advanced L.L.M. degree with a specialty in Environmental Law from the Pace University School of Law.
She enjoys snow skiing, cycling, hiking and gardening.
“I want to use my legal expertise and appreciation of the outdoors to help Placer Land Trust preserve open space, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and agricultural land in Placer County for future generations,” said Brenner.
We are very pleased to have Barbara join the Board. Coming from a long-time ranching family and with her knowledge of natural resource issues, she brings a unique blend of skills and interests to the Board, and she will be a big asset to our organization.
Barbara was formerly a partner at another prestigious Sacramento law firm, Stoel Rives LLP, and has been practicing law since 1991. She has published and presented numerous articles regarding water law, CEQA, the Endangered Species Act, development entitlements, environmental regulations, and natural resources.
Placer Partner Spotlight: Andregg Geomatics
By Karrie Thomas
Andregg Geomatics is a Placer Partner (business donating $500+ to PLT annually) that provides surveying and mapping for transportation, water, public works, conservation and land development projects.
Founded in 1946, the firm has its headquarters in Auburn and has supported PLT since 2003.
Andregg’s diverse project portfolio includes transportation projects, treatment plants, commercial and residential developments, pipelines, schools, public works projects, and highways. The firm has performed hydrographic surveys, mapped FEMA-designated floodplains, conducted surveying and right-of-way engineering for government agencies and developed geodetic control networks for numerous cities. They have also worked on conservation projects protecting thousands of acres of public and private land.
According to Principal Dennis Meyer, PLT provides a valuable service to Andregg’s clients.
“Over the past 67 years Andregg has worked with hundreds of Placer County ranchers, farmers and large land owners. Historically, when a client wished to protect all or a portion of their property they had limited options. With Placer Land Trust, landowners have an organization that specializes in protecting land in Placer County,” Meyer said.
Andregg has project experience all over California in, but here in Placer County they have made significant contributions to our quality of life aligned with PLT’s mission. They supported the development of the Truckee River Bike Trail, provided surveying and mapping services for Placer County’s Hidden Falls Regional Park as well as PLT’s Harvego Bear River Preserve and Canyon View Preserve. Andregg also provided surveying, mapping and geodetic control for the Placer County Water Agency’s Middle Fork of the American River FERC Relicensing.
Mr. Meyer reflected further on Andregg’s local culture: “in addition to Placer Land Trust’s services to our clients, we are locally owned and managed, and our staff values open space. Supporting Placer Land Trust is a sound investment in our community.”
Mr. Meyer previously served on the board of the Auburn Park
Funding from Placer Partners and our membership makes projects happen, including our work to protect the historic Oest Ranch properties in the American River and Orr Creek watersheds. Thank you!Conservancy in the mid 80s that merged with the Placer Land Trust & Nature Center, precursor to the current Placer Land Trust.
Andregg Geomatics also has offices in Truckee and Oakland. Project offices are located in Sacramento, Fairfield and Los Angeles. For more information about Andregg’s services see www.andregg.com.
Stewardship Report: Monitoring ensures our
natural wonders remain protected
By Jeff Ward
Once Placer Land Trust protects a property – either by acquiring the property or placing a conservation easement on it – we have an ongoing obligation to protect that property forever.
The most important function of this permanent protection is monitoring the condition of property over time. PLT’s inspection of protected land determines compliance with the terms of grant agreements, deed restrictions, an – most importantly – conservation easement terms and conditions.
The monitoring process ensures protection of the land’s conservation values. Some properties protect wildlife habitat and watershed health. Agricultural projects protect rangeland and farmland, which contribute to our local economy and cultural heritage. Other conservation values may include recreation and scenic beauty.
Each property is wonderfully unique in providing public benefit. When PLT investigates potential land conservation projects, we identify conservation values to assist in prioritizing projects.
When PLT begins the process of protecting a piece of land we also develop a management plan that establishes the management objectives for the property
In some cases we hold a conservation easement on the land: the landowner retains ownership and use of the property. When drafting a conservation easement, we work closely with the landowner in developing the management plan.
Monitoring typically takes place once a year on both conservation easements and fee title preserves.
To ensure that all monitoring is consistent, we set photo points from the first baseline documentation visit using GPS. These points are the basis of all future observations. We take photos at each point and re-visit the same spot each year. This allows us to document visual changes occurring at a fixed point on the preserve through time.
Before each site visit, we review the terms of all relevant agreements, plus the management plan and the previous year’s monitoring report.
We inspect the preserve for relevant changes to the land’s condition. We photograph significant changes and potential or real threats to the property’s conservation value or violations of easement terms, which might be caused by natural processes or improvements.
“Monitoring is an added benefit of the job – we get to see the beautiful lands that we preserve,” said Land Manager Justin Wages.
When inspecting properites with conservation easements, PLT maintains contact with easement landowners throughout this process. Through proactive landowner communication, our goal is to avoid violations on easements. PLT is proud of our landowner partners, who have proven to be great caretakers of their land!
Of course PLT must enforce easement terms if they are violated by the landowner or a third party. The Annual Monitoring Report, which is filed at the PLT office and mailed to our landowner partners, is an essential part of that enforcement.
David & Margaux – New PLT Interns
By Justin Wages
Placer Land Trust is happy to announce the arrival of two new spring interns, David Ezekiel Schlais and Margaux McClure.
David and Margaux will assist Stewardship staff in various restoration activities and events at Canyon View and Doty Ravine Preserves.
David grew up in Auburn and is currently studying Biology at Sierra College and applying to a Masters program in Conservation Ecology. He already holds a BA and MBA from Pepperdine University.
David became involved because, as he says, “I share Placer Land Trust’s commitment to protecting the wild places I grew up enjoying.”
In 2011, David started Yoga Conservation Alliance, a non-profit that brings yoga and awareness to nature conservation (see www.yogaconservationalliance.com for details). Look for a collaboration between PLT and the Yoga Conservation Alliance this summer!
In 2000, Margaux moved from France to Lincoln, where she began attending Sierra College and learning about the many changes facing California’s ecology.
Her family would often take nature hikes and play in the Auburn Ravine.
Soon after she moved to Lincoln, it was named the fastest growing city in the United States.
“The land is gorgeous,” Margaux said of her new home in rural Placer County. “But I witnessed many changes to the area due to the sudden growth. It became apparent that conservation was important.”
“I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Placer Land Trust, learning about conservation and stewardship and helping to restore our beautiful environment,” she said.
Scotch Broom Challenge
By Troy Outman
Scotch Broom is an invasive plant that plagues thousands of acres in Placer County. It chokes out native habitat and because of its highly flammable nature creates a dangerous fire hazard. For the past four years PLT has participated in an annual event sponsored by the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County to remove scotch broom and create awareness about why everyone should be concerned.
This year’s Scotch Broom Challenge event at Canyon View Preserve cleared 300-400 square feet of this invasive fire hazard in three hours!
Nearly 30 volunteers turned out from all over our community including the California Conservation Corps, and Beale Air Force Base.
“Pulling broom from dry soil is a pretty physically intense job,” said volunteer Anthony White, “but everyone was eager to help and we got a lot done.”
Thanks to everyone who worked together as a team to accomplish this great service.
Placer Land Trust Shop-to-Give
Get the Button!
Support Placer Land Trust without spending a dime!
As a group we have power…
Placer Land Trust Shop-to-Give is a new way to collectively leverage online stores to both give us great deals and pay back a percentage of your purchase to Placer Land Trust. The percentage comes from the online retailer, not you. That makes everyone a winner… individually and collectively.
Anyone can shop and support PLT whether they have signed up or not. Take note though, if you sign up, there are perks to be had.
Retailers make donations when you shop…
What you do in the next few moments can literally protect natural wonders in Placer County. The PLT Browser Button is the Placer Land Trust quail (see him at top right?). Our quail stands a mere 16 pixels high and only takes 15 seconds to install, yet has the power to protect Placer County for future generations.
15 seconds … we really can’t make this much easier. There’s no registration, no passwords, and no personal information needed! And its free.
Shop Globally, Give Locally…
This a great way to have national and international corporations donate to Placer Land Trust!
It’s part of our new fundraising program, PLT Shop-to-Give.
You can direct a percentage of
online purchases from thousands of online retailers (think Amazon.com, iTunes, Staples, Target, etc.) back to PLT – at no extra cost!
Get the Button!
Here’s how it works:
1. Go to Placer Land Trust.org and click on the quail icon.
2. EASY … Follow this link, select a deal or a store, and you will be taken to that store to shop just the way you ordinarily would. A percentage of your purchase price is automatically donated to Placer Land Trust.
3. EASIER … Install the PLT Browser Button and you don’t need to begin at the website. This is the easiest way to Shop-to-Give. Installing the button takes less than a minute (plus a few seconds on some systems to confirm your intent with your anti-virus program). You can shop online the way you normally do: by using a search engine or going directly to your favorite store, and you’ll see the PLT quail next to participating stores. A percentage of your donation is automatically donated to Placer Land Trust
It’s free and easy. No registration, no passwords, no personal info needed …
It’s very easy to download and completely anonymous. There is no tracking of your purchases, and really … no reason not to get involved!
Now the online shopping that you already do can support the preservation of our community and its natural environment. Please check it out, and sign up today!
Placer Land Trust Renews its Accreditation
In 2008, Placer Land Trust became the first of three accredited land trusts in California. To remain accredited, every five years we must apply for renewal. Placer Land Trust is in the midst of this process now.
The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet rigorous national quality standards for protecting important natural and working lands forever. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs.
Placer Land Trust’s capacity and credibility increased tremendously over the past five years, and we attribute that in part to becoming accredited, We are eager to re-affirm that Placer Land Trust adheres to the highest level of standards and practices.
A public comment period is now open.
The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how Placer Land Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see http://www.landtrustaccreditation.org/tips-and-tools/indicator-practices.
To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org, or email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 112 Spring Street, Suite 204, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
Comments on our application will be most useful by June 30, 2013. Thanks!