2016 VENTURA COUNTY EARTH DAY AWARDS

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The Ventura County Board of Supervisors will honor five environmental champions at the Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Board meeting at 10:00 am.  The recipients of the 2016 Ventura County Earth Day Awards are:

District 1: Supervisor Steve Bennett

Happy Valley Bioswale

This project is a collaboration between the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy and the Ventura County Watershed Protection District designed to capture and treat dry-weather and stormwater runoff from 37 acres — about 40% of Meiners Oaks’ residential areas.   It also provides an excellent opportunity for public education about stormwater pollution prevention at a popular spot for walking and experiencing nature.  The County of Ventura received $750, 000 in grant funding from the State Water Resources Control Board.  Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, owner of the project site, provided the land at no cost and will take the ownership and long-term maintenance of the Happy Valley Bioswale’s vegetation. Additional project activities include ongoing effectiveness monitoring, and a watershed friendly garden workshop series offered free for the public and planned for Fall 2016 in collaboration with the Meiners Oaks Elementary School.

District 2: Supervisor Linda Parks

Conejo Oak Tree Advocates

Conejo Oak Tree Advocates (COTA) was formed by a group of concerned Thousand Oaks residents who value the native oak and landmark trees of the Conejo Valley.  They understand that mature oak trees increase the quality of life in the community and contribute positively to the environment by providing oxygen, improving air quality, conserving water, preserving soil, and supporting wildlife. COTA has become a “voice” for the trees to ensure their protection from habitat loss, disease, and poorly planned development. COTA successfully advocated for the Thousand Oaks City Council to strengthen Oak and Landmark Tree Ordinances and reduce the maximum number of protected trees that can be removed at one time without planning commission approval.  Additionally, they successfully lobbied against exemptions that made removing protected trees easier.  COTA continues to work with city officials, businesses, and residents to protect oak and landmark trees that add to the distinctive character of the Conejo Valley.

District 3: Supervisor Kathy Long

Kelle Green, Channel Islands Restoration Nursery

Kelle Green’s commitment to good stewardship of the Earth’s resources goes above and beyond when it comes to native plant restoration through her widely recognized efforts with Channel Islands National Park, Ventura County Master Gardeners, and Channel Islands Restoration (CIR).

Kelle has been involved with the restoration of five of the California Channel Islands (have visited seven islands of the eight), volunteering with the National Park Service and managing their shade house on Anacapa Island, habitat restoration and nursery management through CIR for the Navy on San Nicolas island as well as wetland restoration Navy Base Ventura County, Point Mugu. Within the last year, Kelle Green volunteered her Camarillo home to host Channel Islands Restoration’s first Native Plant Nursery in Ventura County. Additionally, Kelle serves as the Site Lead at Channel Islands National Park native plant garden, and has worked tirelessly preparing an accurate and complete list of over 200 plants in the garden that paved the way for new displays and for the reorganization of the garden into plant communities. Her interest in the Channel Island’s native plant garden began through service as a Ventura County Master Gardener, where Kelle has volunteered over 1,000 hours of her time, and currently leads monthly classes that focus on various plant habitats on the islands.

District 4: Supervisor Peter Foy

Simi Valley Unified School District

The Simi Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) Environmental Initiatives Program includes several components beginning with the installation of solar panels at 24 school sites with an estimated savings of $16 million in energy costs over 20 years. Other efforts include an annual recycling program at elementary school campuses and the opportunity for students at Apollo Continuation High School to study Environmental Horticulture.  The Santa Susana High School the Key Club has been conducting “green” craft days at various local elementary schools and the Simi Valley Adult School & Career Institute has become “Water Wise” with the installation of drought tolerant plants.  Besides putting these initiatives into place, the SVUSD has created a series of career Pathways at the middle and high schools including a Pathway program in the environmental sector which can lead students to several diverse careers related to Environmental Science, Soil and Water Chemistry and Earth/Geo-Science.

District 5: Supervisor John Zaragoza

Ronald and Barbara Barrett

Ronald and Barbara Barrett have taken part in Coastal Clean-up day since 1989. They began as regular beach cleaning participants and in 2000 became site captains at Ormond Beach.  In addition to their beach cleaning activities beginning in 1988, the Barretts became active volunteering to assist sick/injured wildlife. Starting with birds and other terrestrial animals, ardent animal lovers, in 1995 they expanded their volunteerism to help marine mammals. Since 2006 they have worked with the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute. Even in days prior to the celebration moving to Plaza Park, the Barretts have had an educational booth at Oxnard’s annual Earth Day Festival as well as Earth Day Celebrations around the country.

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