History Made: Marin County is the first in California to have all its municipal electricity accounts powered by 100% renewable energy!
Helene Marsh and Sarah Loughran, MC 43 (Master Class 43 graduates), applied their advocacy skills to encourage the County and seven Marin municipalities to purchase their electricity through the Deep Green program offered by MCE, which ensures that all electricity is generated by renewable energy sources. They have been successful in persuading Larkspur, Corte Madera, Novato, San Rafael, Ross, Mill Valley, Tiburon and most notably Marin County to commit to Deep Green resulting in an estimated 3,900 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions to be taken out of the atmosphere annually - roughly equivalent to taking 835 passenger cars off the road.
Piper Park Marsh - Resiliency Project
Betsy Clark, Alan Jones, and Kathi deFremery, MC43 spearheaded an ambitious study of the Larkspur Marsh which resulted in a detailed report and was presented to the city of Larkspur in hopes that they assume stewardship of this valuable resource. As their report outlines, marsh resiliency is an important part of mitigating sea level rise.
Marshes also filter pollutants, provide important habitat and sequester carbon.
The Piper Park Marsh Resiliency effort looks to the Forum membership for help in it's continuation. If you would like to be involved, contact Betsy Clark.
Mary Morgan, MC 40, understood the critical role of watersheds and had to learn how to communicate the need for creek restoration at Green Gulch Farm. In 2012, she developed a presentation to articulate the importance of creek restoration and presented it not only to her fellow Master Class participants but also to a variety of audiences including donors and government agencies.
The efforts of Mary, Prunuske Chatham, Inc., and many others at the Zen Center, bore fruit in 2014 when the creek was set free. Both wetland and riparian habitat were created, as well as improved creek habitat critical for the coho salmon and steelhead trout.
Today the meandering waterway is once again a habitat that these fish can call home.
Mary credits the Forum and the rigor of the project process with helping her articulate her points so that she could persuade her audiences and gain support for this project.
Photo by Sara Tashker
Marin's Climate Goals -
In April and October 2017, Cory Bytof, MC 43, led a workshop focused on the Marin's Climate Action Plans (CAPs) and where we stand compared to our goals. During the lecture, they investigated the CAP for each municipality and what jurisdictions are doing to address climate change. The lecture taught the attendees how to get involved on a personal and a county-wide level. See how your jurisdiction is doing by following the Marin Sustainability Tracker.
Star Route Farm
Melinda Stone, Master Class 41 graduate, saw her Master Class project through to fruition. Her plan was to get The University of San Francisco to buy the 100-acre Star Route Farm in Bolinas to ensure it's future as a farm. Melinda wrote: "The (master) class was instrumental in shaping my proposal and connecting with people that made the project come to fruition".
Tarp Your Load
Marin local residents Jill Whitebook, MC 41, and Vicky Dehnert were concerned about unsightly litter on our roadways. Sharing this same feeling with many Marin residents, they decided to take action in an effort to rid the County of this blight. They are diligently working with government officials in Marin County to resolve this problem. Their actions were recognized by Marin Magazine as Project to Watch in 2015.
Marin Open Garden Project
Founded in 2009, by Julie Hanft, MC36, and Hilary Jeffris, the Marin Open Garden Project is an all-volunteer gardening community in Marin County which organizes weekly meetings of backyard gardeners to exchange excess fruit and vegetables and other goodies from their gardens in Mill Valley, Novato, San Rafael and San Anselmo.
Yellow Bus Challenge
Sally Wilkinson and Jayni Allsep (MC 41) tackled the severe school-related traffic problem on Tiburon Blvd., and became the inaugural Program Manager for Yellow Bus Challenge. The Yellow Bus Challenge — a collaborative effort between the Town of Tiburon, the City of Belvedere and Reed Union School District — oversaw an expanded school bus program, offering more routes, faster travel times, campus-specific buses and half-priced bus passes to incentivize ridership.
Results of the program over two years: • Increased round-trip ridership from 350 to 700 kids of a school population of 1,500 • Reduced transit times on Tiburon Blvd by roughly 40% around school bell times • The overwhelming success of the program established a blueprint for other municipalities to follow suit, notably Mill Valley, with others in the works
“Participation in the Master Class and the Yellow Bus Challenge were both overwhelmingly positive experiences. I came to MC41 with a superficial understanding of today’s environmental challenges and graduated with my eyes wide open. As a new resident to Marin, both the MC and the YBC served as tremendous networking opportunities for me.” – Sally Wilkinson