Restoration

res·to·ra·tion |restəˈrāSHən|
noun: The action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition.


Grazing Reports for Glen Ellen and Petaluma Properties 2015

Glen Ellen Property Grazing Report 2015:

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In 2015 we continued to bring the impacts of large animals to the vegetation at the Glen Ellen Property. However, because we were growing our property base and our number of enterprises we had dramatically, we did not achieve the sort of vegetation management results we had achieved in past years. Because we were taking on grass-fat beef cattle and because we were busy bringing on other properties we did not have as much time as we have in the past to manage this property. We expect to see this drop in management quality in the vegetation monitoring results next year, if we aren’t already seeing them this year.

Overview

In order to diversify and experiment with our enterprises we felt like it was important to bring on a grassfed beef finishing herd this year. In previous years we have had younger beef cattle, but in order to get a premium price for grassfed beef we would have to be able to hold on to older cattle. We received these cattle from panorama and they were very wild. They spent the first week running from any and everything and this probably damaged wet ground early in the season. There is some correlation with increased thistle populations and these heavily pugged areas. These cattle strained our infrastructure. We didn’t have any major wrecks but there was a lot of luck involved with that. Because the cattle were so heavy and were used to having a premium diet, we had to move them much faster than we would have if vegetation management was our only goal. As a result we ended the rotation without being able to effect the grass very much. We were certainly unable to have much impact on the weeds and brush. In addition we ended up going through the forage faster than we otherwise would have. This made it necessary to move these cattle to the hilltop properties, where they should have been all along.

Preparing the hilltop properties for cattle was a time consuming business and it prevented us from dedicating as much time to the Glen Ellen property as we have in the past. Throughout the whole season we had three herds and we had to split our attention between all the different properties which prevented us from taking as much time as we usually do on the properties. This was necessary in 2015 because we only closed the deal on the new properties when the grazing season had already started, so we found it necessary to graze all three properties at the same time. As a result, where we might have moved cattle three times per day in previous years, we only moved them once this year.

As a business it is important for us to grow to a sustainable level by the year 2018 and if those business goals are not attained than it doesn’t matter what sort of results we achieve on the land, they won’t be sustainable. But we need to figure out how to re-configure the situation so that we get better results in the future.

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Modifications

  1. Reduce the number of herds under management-The first and most important way for us to get these results is for us to consolidate herds, and as much as possible have one herd of animals. This will reduce our labor needs significantly, while still achieving the same herd size. This will always be a problem at Glen Ellen because of the size of the property, but we will work to figure out the best way to get as close as possible to this goal.
  2. Choose class of livestock carefully- Another lesson that we learned this year was that we need to choose our class of livestock carefully. The Glen Ellen property needs to be managed by a class of livestock that will be able to eat tall grass, brush and weeds. We had hoped that we could use it as an experimental property but we compromised our management quality to do that experiment.

With those two changes we could have achieved the sort of vegetation management that we had the years before. The bigger issue is that we are still not seeing the sort of vegetation changes on these sites that we had hoped for. We are still seeing the precursors of the vegetation changes we are hoping for ( thatch reductions, etc.) but we are not seeing wholesale conversion towards perennial grasses. Early positive changes in vegetation composition seem to have stalled out and we are not making new gains in monitoring results. This is going to take more work. We plan to analyze the data better in the coming months and have an in depth assessment of the factors influencing vegetation at Glen Ellen. Then we will have a comprehensive plan for adjusting management protocols to turn things around.

By staying honest with ourselves, looking at the results on the land and looking for ways to positively change our management we are going to achieve the best conditions possible on the Glen Ellen property.

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Petaluma Property Grazing Report 2015:

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As opposed to the Glen Ellen property, our vegetation management at the Petaluma property in 2015 seemed to be the best yet of the three years under ecologically based grazing management. We are starting to learn the ins and outs of this property.

Overview

We brought the cattle in about the same time we did in past years, just before the spring flush of grass really took off. We started by going over the open ground twice early in the season, before moving to the woodlands later in the spring. In this way we were able to stay ahead of the grass in the front portions of the property. By keeping the grass shorter, we were able to make our job easier by keeping the grass in a vegetative state, where it was more palatable to the cattle and easier to manage. By keeping the grass short we were also able see the beginnings of good recruitment of both native forbs and perennial grasses. This schedule also enabled us to achieve relatively good impact on the poison oak and coyote brush by getting cattle into the wooded areas when those species are most desirable, after the other vegetation had already started to dry up.

Using the dairy heifers this year has also been helpful in achieving our vegetation management targets. The dairy heifers seemed to be a positive development for us. They have been the best animals we’ve gone through so far for eating brush and weeds without being picky.

We continued our customary practice of leaving part of the property un-grazed, this year reserving the northwest corner of the property (west of the big pond and north of the front field that that we call paddock “F”). This area has historically had very little grass and heavy impact from gophers. It seems to have responded quite well to having a solid year without grazing.

Vegetation Management Results:

We are starting to see more positive vegetation changes at the Petaluma property than we are at Glen Ellen. We are not sure why this is exactly, whether it is due to a higher level of sampling on the Petaluma property or if it comes down to some fundamental differences in management on the property. We aim to figure out what these differences are and start addressing them.

We saw some important specific changes in vegetation over the year. We saw a significant increase, overall, in native perennial grass cover in the grazed monitoring plots at the Petaluma property. The random subset that we analyzed increased perennial native grass cover by 14%. This was compared to the un-grazed exclosures, which saw a 20% decrease in perennial grass cover.

The even more interesting result comes from the total species change on the plots. The number of plant species found on the grazed plots increased by 69% over the three years of management, whereas species increased 42% on un-grazed exclosures. Why there is a species increase even in the un-grazed exclosure is just another piece of information that we need to explain. It is very possible that the effects of the on-going drought are creating significant background conditions that we will only tease apart from the effects of management after the return to normal levels of precipitation.

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Modifications:

  1. The main things we would change going forward would be to bring in more of the people involved with the property early in the season so that we can make sure that we communicate operations at the Petaluma property to all relevant parties and to make sure that we are meeting everyone’s needs regarding management at the Petaluma property.
  2. There were a few minor view sector changes that we would make involving getting fences and corrals moved in a timely manor, and changing the placing of some of that infrastructure. We will also change the timing and priority of our grazing to maintain a visual harmony. For the most part we feel that management at the Petaluma property adhered to our grazing principals.

Next year we hope to continue with the things we have learned at the Petaluma property and see similar positive changes in vegetation on the other properties under our management.

 

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Managing Three New Properties!

We are excited to announce that our grazing management for 2015 has expanded to three additional properties, which is a total of 1,037 acres, all located on Sonoma Mountain in Petaluma! Our Grassland Managers enjoyed working with the three property owners/managers to ensure that everyone’s vision of having cattle graze on their property were in alignment. This first year on the properties was about learning the landscapes, their ecology, water resources and topography so that we can figure out how to best manage them moving forward.  Below is a little bit of information about each of the new properties we are now managing with a word or two from their managers. If you are interested in following the grazing results any further, please know that the monitoring data for this year will be available to you soon. The results can be found under the management locations tab on our home page.

The Mitsui Ranch is the largest piece of property we have recently added to our management portfolio. It is owned by the Sonoma Mountain Ranch Preservation Foundation whose board members, Chuck Mitsui and Robert Edmiston, have been a delight to work with. The ranch is managed by talented biologist Jeff Wilcox who oversees the monitoring, and restoration efforts on the property with a focus on birds, plants, and amphibians.  Jeff has been very helpful all season with logistics in a variety of settings. The property is 632 acres of beautiful landscape that includes: three  ponds, wooded areas, mostly gentle rolling topography, and a good amount of quality grass that has had a decent amount of rest over the last year.  Jeff had this to say about the project: “The SMI folks use cattle in a way that mimics the selective pressures under which grasses evolved; large numbers of cattle graze a small area, but for a short time. This way, many mouths compete for the same plants, causing cattle to be less selective. Also, cattle are moved before they get a chance to take too many bites of one plant, preventing overgrazing. This method restores grasslands, builds soils, soil nutrients, and increases the water holding capacity of soils. Better soils grow better grass, and the cycle gets stronger. Perhaps most important, is the quality of the people at SMI. The grassland managers are easy to work with, have collective experience and talent beyond their years, and they work very hard…with grace. Their ability to adapt to the changing landscape through the season and move the cattle for forage quality reasons or water supply reasons is impressive.”

Mitsui Property

Mitsui Property

 

The Pangea Property covers 128 acres and is owned by James and Sophie Gray, who have been fantastic people to work with. The Grays have made this season much more logistically possible for us as they have supported us by providing water for grazing at both the Mitsui and Walsh properties, in addition to their own Pangea property. The landscape has beautiful views of Sonoma Valley and has a lot of potential for increased biodiversity. Their caretaker, Pete Perez, was also extremely helpful logistically while we were grazing on Pangea, and on the Walsh property next door.

Pangea Property

Pangea Property

 

The Walsh Property is a total of 280 acres, owned by the County of Sonoma, and is managed by Bert Whitaker through the Sonoma County Regional Parks Department. Walsh has not been grazed in 15 years and the dominant species found on the property are invasives and thistles.  However, the cattle are eating a good amount of the thistle and we are excited to see what biological changes will come next year from this year’s grazing. We hope, in the non-grazing season this year, to better develop the water resources on Walsh. The water distribution system there was limited, thereby making it more difficult to get the density and impact we would like. When we asked Bert about his experience in working with us at SMI his response was: “We are so pleased this innovative partnership has developed with Sonoma Mountain Institute inspiring property managers near the summit of Sonoma Mountain to cooperate and work towards developing a sustainable organic cattle operation that balances the needs of ranchers while achieving critical grassland restoration.”

Walsh Property

Walsh Property

 

In addition to implementing regenerative grazing methodologies on the three properties, our team at SMI helped all three of these properties get certified Organic through CCOF, and registered through the CDFA.  Also new for SMI was that our grazing management service was also certified organic through CCOF! These certifications are imperative in meeting the needs of the Certified Organic cattle we use from various local ranchers.

Petaluma’s Grazing Report 2014

The cattle stepped off the truck on April 7th a week later than we planned in our grazing plan. We actually tried to get the cattle in as early as March 22nd in Petaluma as the grass was ready to go however the rains kept coinciding with our shipping days again and again and we ended up having to push things back a few weeks to let our land dry out a bit. However, we were happy to get cattle this year at all with the drought so we were chomping at the bit at 5:30AM on the Morning of April 7th ready to receive them.

One of our objectives for the year was to obtain daily weight gain data so that we had a better handle on what type of weight we are capable of putting on the cattle at different times of the year. This will help us structure better agreements in the future with cattle owners and help us decided what sector of the cattle business to be in. When we received the cattle on april 7th we tried to weigh most of the animals we received before sending them out into their new paddocks.

(Photo Below: Some of the cattle in corrals waiting to be weighed on their way out to pasture)

 The portable corrals we have are amazing in their quality, customization capacity and versatility. However, while the corrals contain an alley they were not specifically designed to be used with a scale so we had to experiment with the configuration of the corrals and the placing of the scale to figure out the most effective arrangement. It took some time, but as always when you work the cattle calm with proper stockmanship they are pretty forgiving of your mistakes.

 

(Photo Below: Getting ready to weigh in the animals with our new field scale system.)

 While the weighing went pretty well, it became apparent within a few hours that these cattle were not as trained to single strand electric fence as we were accustomed. By about 3:30 in the afternoon we had put back into the paddocks a large number of escapees. We decided by the end of the day we should set up a two wire training fence or when we arrived back in the morning who knows where the cattle would be. As it turned out the two wire fence did the trick and the cattle seemed pretty well trained after interacting with that set up.

Within a few days of the cattle’s arrival most of the grass on the property was still vegetative and had not gone to seed. We began working our way from the initial receiving location in unit 2, north towards unit F. Our priority target areas for the growing season graze event were the common viewsheds on the property. We had to triage some of our desired target locations and acreages, because due to the musical chair nature of the rain pushing our receiving dates we ended up getting 20 less animal units then we planned on as our suppliers had constraints of their end regarding where to put cattle. Over 50 or so days 20 less animal units can add up to 40 to 50 less acres grazed than planned. However, that is life in a living ever changing system.

Around April 12th we ended up moving the cattle from Unit 2 to Unit 3 along the main driveway. We moved them across wonderful quality grass, and uphill which was a challenge. It went well, but it just took a lot more walking and a lot more time then it would have if it were downhill over poor quality feed.

 

(Photo Below: The beginning of the move, the real work started off in the distance)

 While grazing in unit 3 the cattle were let into a paddock which had a about a 900 square foot patch of solid fiddleneck. We were interested in what they were going to do with it. When we came back the next morning they had trampled most if it into the ground and ate the rest. (See photo to the left). It was really great to see them standing on flat vegetative material that was almost chest high the day before. I can’t wait to see how the composition in that area changes next year. About april 15th we stopped short of the end of the road in unit 3 as it was waterlogged and moved over to adjacent area in unit F. The oats had really gone to seed as this point and where much more shaggy. It was that time of year when things start to feel like they are changing, the plants are going to seed and loosing protein. While much of the grass was still vegetative, you could just feel the reproductive phase coming onto the land with yellows in the grasses becoming more pronounced. This is why we wanted to get onto the ground sooner to take more advantage of the growing season.

 

(Photo above: Cattle grazing in Unit F)

 

By about April 24th we had tidied up unit/paddock F and where headed to unit 3. Unit 3 had some beautiful quality grass in it and had a location where we could weigh the cattle to see how we were gaining. It turned out that the cattle were gaining 3.7 pounds a day in April. Pretty amazing gains given we were shooting for 2 pounds per day. Also about the time we began weighing I got a new cattle dog named Elle. I bought her as a started stock dog at 11 months old. She is a hangin tree breed. Check out the breed at: http://hangintreecowdog.net/. She was trained at auction yard and got a ton of experience in a short amount of time while at the yard. We started her in late April and she picked up on our operation really quick.

(Above: Property Map with Units and paddocks)

 

(Below: Elle our new stock dog relaxing after some hard work on a hot day)

We Left unit 3 on May 4th headed for the north west section of unit 4 which is a primary viewshed on the property. About this time much of the grass began browning out. While there was green still left in the grass it was plain to see the growing season was coming to an end. By this time Elle and the cattle really started getting along well and she was doing an awesome job. She helped me get the cattle over a hill through the woods without help, which in that type of situation wouldn’t be possible for me alone. On May 10th Elle and I pushed the cattle over to Paddock/Unit M which is mostly wooded.

The cattle seemed to be enjoying the grass, forbes and poison oak that was living under the tree canopy.  The grass under the tree canopy seemed to be holding on to it’s quality and protien longer than other areas on the ranch without tree cover. On May 20th the cattle moved back into Unit 4 to begin their grazing journey back to the corrals in Unit 2 where we received them earlier in the season. The area the cattle were grazing in Unit 4 was forested and hadn’t seen hooves the previous season so it looked to really need it. There was quite a bit of locked up material that hadn’t been cycled into the soil in a long time. The forested areas had quite a bit of poison oak in them as well.

On May 26th, we weighed the cattle again to see how their gains were in May. We had an average of 3 pounds per day of gain which we were really surprised with. The primary forage the cattle had been eating in the past few weeks, about 70% of their diet, was mature oat grass. Not the best quality forage, but apparently the mix with other forages was enough to really keep them gaining. On May 27th, we shipped the cattle out to close out the growing season graze rotation. All in all, I would consider it a success. While we would have liked to have more pounds on the ground we got the densities, impact and recovery we were looking for on a large part of the property. The grass we didn’t get to would be great for the non-growing season rotation and the cattle we had lined up for June. We received great data on weight gain and made strides with using dogs more effectively in our operation. We appreciated the opportunity we had to work with the suppliers of the cattle Markegard grass fed and were grateful that we once again were able to effect the land in positive ways. Nothing is more fun then restoring the relationships between large animals, the grasslands and the predators or shepherds that keep them moving.

 

(Below: Cattle on May 26th waiting to be picked up the next day)

 

SMI IS Certified Organic!

CCOF Sign

We at SMI have been very busy in the last couple of months working on becoming certified organic through the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) organization.  We are proud to announce that we just became certified on 373.2 acres of grasslands at our Petaluma site and 84.35 acres of grasslands at our Glen Ellen site.  We are excited to be organic  suppliers of grass for certified organic cattle to graze upon as often as our shepherds feel necessary.  We have a variety of ranchers who have certified organic cattle that now have a place for them to graze.  While we of course are always looking to improve the aesthetic and the environmental aspects of the land in which we manage.

New Native Grass Plugs Planted

We have been busy at the Ranch the last couple of weeks.  We recently planted  2,400 one sided blue grass, 2,400  purple needle grass, 2,400  california melic, and a 1,000 idaho fescue native grass plugs. The planting continues next week as we will be sowing 9,600 danthonia native grass plugs next week.
 planting 2014

Come Join Us At A CNGA Workshop!

The Sonoma Mountain Institute Staff is looking forward to many of the workshops that the California Native Grassland Association is about to offer.  We welcome you to join us in supporting this association that brings education and awareness to the importance of restoring and preserving California’s native grasslands.  Please click on the following link for more detailed information on the workshops available in 2014.

California Native Grassland Association- workshops

2014 Here We Come!

As the trailer doors shut, and the truck heads off the property with the last of the cattle, a certain amount of relief sets in for us. Another grazing year closes without incident, much is learned and positive changes have happened along our landscapes. We let go of the focus we have had on obtaining proper densities of cattle and stimulating animal impact. We let go of trying to achieve the optimal graze and recovery periods while maintaining the health of the cattle. We sink in and appreciate the opportunity we have had to steward the land and begin to turn our focus for the months ahead….with no cattle.

 

We have chosen to bring other ranchers cattle onto our properties for limited periods for several reasons. One of the most important is that it much more closely resembles the way nature did it for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. In the not too distant past herbivores grazed a location for short periods of time at high densities with intense impact and then did not return for months or years at a time. Herbivores followed the vibrant and healthy grass, moving on to greener pastures and left the areas they just grazed to rest and recover. The wolves, and American cheetahs and sabertooths kept the herbivores moving and the landscapes healthy.

 

Most ranches are built on a continuous system that has cattle on a piece of ground all year round. While that wouldn’t have typically been the case in evolutionary history, a competent grassland manager can manage cattle on the same piece of ground year all round in a sustainable or even regenerative fashion. However, for us,  we find it easier and more effective for our landscape if we bring a higher number of cattle in seasonally and then send the animals off when we have achieved our desired level of impact. We are also fortunate to not have production pressures that many ranchers have so we are able to be much more flexible with our management.

 

So the question that naturally follows after hearing that we only manage cattle seasonally is,  “what do these guys do when the last trailer leaves property and the last piece of fence is rolled up.” A few years ago I learned a pretty valuable lesson at the Ranching for Profit School (http://ranchmanagement.com/) about the difference between working in your business (WITB) and working on your business (WOTB). When Nate and I are moving cattle on the landscape, setting up and taking down fencing, troubleshooting water issues, and separating animals to be worked…typically we are working in our business/organization. When the trailer pulls away and the cattle leave we have the ability to start asking questions about how we are running the business/organization. At least when we aren’t thinning brush, fixing fence, planting plugs and harvesting grass seeds. We have the ability to ask should we even be using this type of fence? Who should we get cattle from next season? How should we monitor and why? How could we standardize the infrastructure process so we are not wasting time? What is the fastest way to set up fence through dense brush? What goals and objectives do we have for 2014?  All these questions are WOTB questions and it is how we spend a good deal of our time when the cattle leave for the season.

 

Ranch Management Consultants (RMC) who teach the Ranching for Profit course have a set of ten meetings that they recommend ranching businesses conduct when they leave the school (http://ranchmanagement.com/nl68.pdf).  These meetings range from conducting a grazing plan to having a mission statement and purpose to organizing your workspace to be effective. We have been trying to do at least one of these meetings per month and they have been very helpful. In addition to the meetings there is a bunch of pre and post meeting work to do surrounding the meetings that requires a fair amount of time. Our grazing chart is one of those products which you can see below, but it will need to be revised due to the drought.

 

One of the things that was clear to Nate and I this grazing season was that if we ever want to expand we need to standardize and document a good deal of what we do. One of the areas we wanted to standardize and document were how we go about collecting, storing and presenting our monitoring data. SMI has historically conducted a fair amount of monitoring activities. We did some work around getting clearer on what the goals of our monitoring program were and the types of data we wanted to collect. This required a fair amount of work and we eventually came to a rough beta operations protocol for the monitoring data that will help to simplify all the work that needs to be done regarding our monitoring program.

 

Another large area that we needed to standardize and document surrounded our infrastructure materials and how we used and interacted with them. In order to do this Nate and I conducted time trials under a variety of conditions in order to clarify what methods and tools we were using that worked best. We were also interested in developing better tools and methods which we thought would be easier when we could work with infrastructure without having to worry about caring for cattle. You can see a more detailed summary of those time trials linked here: Infrastructure Time Trial Summary

 

There are quite a few more items that we have done since the cattle left the property (such as Nate continuing to crack away at his writing project), but those were some of the bigger items we have gotten through. Now we are turning our heads to look into the coming grazing season and what we see are the dominant impacts of drought. 2013 was the driest year on record for California (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/31/2013-dry-california_n_4525573.html). Which means that nobody alive really understands what the grass growth for this upcoming year is going to look like.

 

One of the frustrating things for us as grass managers in California is that it takes a full year too really see the impacts from your management. It is a pretty delayed feedback cycle due to the Mediterranean climate patterns we have here of six months of a rainy season, followed by a six-month dry season. This rain pattern creates a short growing season followed by a long dormant season, which slows down biological activity and how fast organic matter can be cycled through and improve the system. It is not something you can speed up in any way, which slows down how fast you can learn and obtain meaningful data. In climates with a more evenly distributed rainfall pattern you can see results and impacts quicker then in California.

 

The drought we are currently experiencing could push that feedback timeline out a whole other year making us wait to see the impacts from the grass management in 2013 out two years to 2015. In truth though, not being able to see the total results of our management pale in comparison to what is happening to many ranchers out there on the landscape. A lot of people who make their living off grass are going to loose animals, money and possibly their land if they are not able to pay bills through the grass that rain brings, or doesn’t bring. There are some tough times ahead for the brave folks who participate in rangeland agriculture if we don’t get a decent amount of rain from January – May.

 

A general way to think about grass growth is that grass needs both moisture and temperature to grow. In California we typically get our moisture during the coldest part of the year, which isn’t the greatest. Therefore there are two times per year when we really get growth on the grass, October through early November, and then again in February through April. Typically the grass begins growing in October and then slows until February when it then takes off for it’s biggest flush of the season. This year we have almost no growth to start with from October, as the rains have been so sparse. If it does rain soon, we are not sure what the grass will look like, as we have no real head start from October rains. This means while we have a grazing plan here at SMI the drought is causing us to have to delay our plans as we see what really happens on the landscape and adjust accordingly.

 

Dealing with drought is a serious and constant part of management. You can be sure that if you make your living from grass that drought will impact your business at some point or another. The RMC folks have some very helpful drought planning tools that they use at their school. A synopsis of them can be found here: (http://ranchmanagement.com/nl65.pdf). For us at SMI we are continuing to work on different projects; fixing fences, building relationships, building tools for grazing, writing, building out monitoring info hosting websites, while we wait and look to the sky. If we don’t get enough rain then we will have to forgo grazing this year and look to support others who have land to manage and ranchers that could use our support. The Chinese character for crisis is a combination the characters for danger and opportunity. As adversity will always present itself I think it is important to view those circumstances as chances for growth and cultivating new and dynamic opportunities. So 2014 here we come!

A New Video Created by Cultural Conservancy

The Cultural Conservancy has completed a short film called, “Guardians of the Waters-Native Youth Explore Cultural and Ecological Health” in collaboration with Sonoma Mountain Institute and the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC). Aside from the cultural preservation that the Cultural Conservancy projects, much of the boat building and paddling processes occurred at OAEC pond as they worked on Tule projects from the Tule’s harvested at SMI’s lake. The video was produced by Mateo Hinojosa, Nicola Wagenberg and the youth.   The world premiere was held at the recent Indigenous Forum at Bioneers. Please see the link below to view their hard work and inspiring message.
Cultural Conservancy Video

2013 Annual Board Meeting

We had our annual board meeting at the ranch in Petaluma on October 15, 2013.  The board meeting reviewed all that was accomplished in 2013 and discussed future projects planned for 2014.  It is our hope to increase our tree and grass propagation, train new shepherds, expand our compost building capacity, and take over the insurance and the care of Godfrey Ranch. The annual budget was passed and all attendees were in agreement of the projects to come. Overall, all the board was happy with the progress made in 2013 and they, as well as, our great team of staff are excited for the upcoming projects in 2014.

 

Another Successful Tule Harvest at S.M.I.

In late August of 2013 another Tule Harvest happened at Sonoma Mountain Institute in Petaluma, CA.  This year’s harvest was a great collaborative effort made by Occidental Art and Ecology Center for their onsite management and assistance with tying up some of the bundles of tules, S.M.I. assisted with cutting, drying, and hauling our clean, healthy, and beautiful tule, as always The Cultural Conservancy team gifted the project their experience in the creation and design of a Tule boat, and lastly the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria and the Kalliopeia Foundation have provided their support of building Tule Boats for years. The Cultural Conservancy will also be debuting at Bioneers this year alongside the Tule Boats that will be on display. Sonoma Mountain Institute is grateful to take part in the continuing preservation of  indigenous cultural traditions.  IMG_7595 IMG_7615 IMG_7632 IMG_7633

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