On a regular basis I’m asked what the NEC is working on and in some ways I feel that my response may be overwhelming. On this rainy spring equinox, I took a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and what’s in store for the future.
To start, the Adopt-a-Block program is taking off with new volunteers signing up to help us combat toxic cigarette butt litter. We also have new volunteers helping staff distribute EcoNews on a regular basis, and have connected concerned citizens with information on ivy pulls and what they can do when they see invasive ivy in our community forests. Our staff answers a variety of questions from phone callers or people walking into the office.
In collaboration with The Miniplex, (next door in Richard’s Goat Tavern) we hosted two screenings of Return of the River—including a Q&A time with Co-Director John Gussman.
Our Washington D.C. Analyst and Vice-President Dan Sealy offered two workshops on how to effectively make change in congress and a community letter writing event. Our meeting space is regularly used by NEC member groups and others such as 350 Humboldt, the North Country Fair board, and the March for Science planning committee.
We received a Coastal Commission Whale Tail grant for our “Take Action” events—Adopt-a-Block, Adopt-a-Beach, and Coastal Cleanup Day—which provide our community with hands-on activities that make a difference for all life in our area.
We also regularly engage with local agencies and decision makers, including testifying at the public hearings on oyster expansion at the Humboldt Bay Harbor Commission, and about dredge spoils at the Eureka City Council. Most recently, the combined efforts of the NEC with member groups SAFE and EPIC successfully convinced Trinity County to not accept a quarter million dollar grant from CalTrans for an East-West rail feasibility study (see page 9 for more).
This work can’t be done without support of our members and community! Many of our supporters enjoy getting together, as evidenced by the high attendance at our January Open House. Another opportunity for gathering and supporting the NEC is on Wednesday, April 5 at Mad River Brewery in Blue Lake. Not only will a dollar from every pint of beer sold that day
be donated to the NEC, but you’ll have the pleasure of listening to three great musical acts, purchasing bake sale items, and viewing live demonstrations
of our watershed model. We will also have a table of supplies to make signs for the Earth Day March for Science! Bring your family, co-workers and friends out for a great time in Blue Lake! Many thanks to Mad River Brewery for hosting.
But that’s not all! Everyone is welcome to the NEC’s Spaghetti Dinner FUN(d)Raiser on Saturday, April 15 at the Bayside Grange. The event features a delicious spaghetti bar dinner with organic salad, local bread and dessert, plus dancing to music by Kingfoot. There will also be a silent auction featuring a diverse selection of items for bid (see page 5), and alcoholic beverages for sale. Tickets are available online at yournec.org or at Brown Paper Tickets (necdinner. brownpapertickets.com), at our office (415 I St., Arcata) or at the door the evening of the event. If you’re interested in volunteering for this event please contact the office! We could use your help to ensure a successful and enjoyable evening for all.
Coming up in May, we’re again teaming up with Redwood Region Audubon Society (RRAS) to sponsor the Third Annual Tim McKay Memorial Birdathon May 6 –14. Create a team or bird as an individual. Participate from anywhere in the world and collect pledges for the number of birds seen in 24 hours. All proceeds benefit the NEC and RRAS equally.
The funds from these events are greatly needed to keep the NEC operating successfully and efficiently. The NEC faces a few vital issues holding us back, in a time when it is more important than ever to have updated and timely information readily available on our website and social media. It all takes money, time, people power, and technological tools to accomplish.
Our website desperately needs an upgrade and makeover in order for information to be easily accessible on a variety of devices. Our office computers are outdated and in need of replacement, as they are unable to be upgraded further. The EcoNews Report would also greatly benefit from new recording technology and a dedicated producer who can help schedule guests, provide timely information and promote the show beyond the redwood curtain.
With so much support and attention going towards national environmental groups as they battle in Washington, please don’t forget to support your local environmental center! Join us at one or a few of our upcoming fundraisers! Send in or drop off a check, or donate via PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you shop on Amazon, use AmazonSmile and designate the Northcoast Environmental Center as your beneficiary. Or set up a monthly donation with your bank or credit card company or donate directly from our website. Every dollar contributes to our important work. We can’t do it without you!