HELPFUL ORGANIZATIONS

It's an enormous task to restore the forest in and around Camp Meeker in order to make us safer from wildfires. We believe that the basic restoration process will take about 20 years, although most of the safety improvements will happen within about 5 years.

This task is far beyond the financial and human resources of any organization or group of people within our community, so Fire Safe Camp Meeker will co-ordinate the efforts of local community volunteers with the expertise and financial assistance available from outside government agencies and NGOs.

This page lists some of the organizations, both within our community and outside, and how we will all work together to improve the environment and safety of Camp Meeker.

ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN CAMP MEEKER

Camp Meeker Volunteer Fire Department

The Camp Meeker VFD is an entirely voluntary non-profit organization, with a board of directors and emergency responders trained to rigorous standards to deal with structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle accidents, fallen trees and medical emergencies.

Although Fire Safe Camp Meeker is a completely separate organization, the VFD has been very supportive of our efforts. They brought Richard Seaman, founder of FSCM, onto the VFD board and in October of 2018 provided the following endorsement:

"As part of our responsibility to promote fire safety in our area of operations, we endorse the ideas outlined in the Fire Safe Camp Meeker proposal to set up an independent legal entity to restore the forest surrounding Camp Meeker and to promote and implement defensible space practices in order to reduce fire risk to the people, houses and infrastructure of the community."

The VFD has also generously allowed FSCM to set up a table at its two annual fundraising events, the pancake breakfast in May and the BBQ And Bingo dinner in November. This allows us to distribute fire safety brochures to the community, to let people know how we can help them, and to gather petition signatures. The petition shows community support for the project, which makes it much easier to get grants and other support from outside organizations.

St Dorothy's Rest

St Dorothy's Rest (SDR) is a campground at the very northern end of Camp Meeker which operates retreats and children's camps. It is owned and overseen by the Episcopalean Diocese of San Francisco.

In 2012 St Dorothy's bought 550 acres of forested land previously owned by Patricia Aho and her sisters. This land not only surrounds Camp Meeker, it's also scattered throughout Camp Meeker and runs in a large strip along Bohemian Highway and Dutch Bill Creek. An option was retained to buy back a parcel of 200 acres of the forest above Tower Rd in Camp Meeker, and in 2017 St Dorothy's sold this parcel back to Patricia at the same price they bought it.

Since buying the forest, St Dorothy's has spent $180,000 of their own money removing hazard trees. They have also brought in Americorps and California Conservation Corps teams to do forest restoration and fuel reduction projects. The restoration work has been recognized with official awards, and St Dorothy's is now working on a California Forest Improvement Program with Cal Fire and Fire Safe Sonoma.

As one part of their commitment to working with the wider community, SDR has divided the residential area of Camp Meeker into four zones; one day a month, each zone has fuel abatement work done on it by a team of workers from AmeriCorps, overseen by staff from St Dorothy's.

On October 10 of 2018, Fire Safe Camp Meeker steering committee members Sheila Denton and Richard Seaman met with SDR in order to explore how we might work together. This meeting consisted of a two hour discussion with SDR representatives Katie Evenbeck (executive director), Dewey Watson (member of the board of directors) and Sara Gunter (director of programs).

Sheila was previously executive director at the Westminster Woods conference center and camp ground, so she has been designated to be Fire Safe Camp Meeker's primary liaison with SDR. St Dorothy's invited her to join their Community Task Force, and she regularly attends these meetings to advance the project together.

We believe that FSCM working together with SDR is a win-win situation for both parties. However, there are issues which need to be resolved before the relationship can progress further, including insurance, training and covering the legal liability of FSCM volunteers.

OUTSIDE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Fire Safe Occidental

Fire Safe Occidental was set up in the second half of 2018, not long after Fire Safe Camp Meeker began.

From the beginning, FSCM and FSO have co-ordinated their efforts, with members of the FSCM steering committee attending the FSO steering committee meetings, and members of the FSO steering committee being given a tour of the "fire highlights" of Camp Meeker.

In the future we want to co-ordinate our forest restoration and fuel reduction programs, but even before that happens we hope to learn a great deal from each other about the best ways to make this sort of project work.

Fire Safe Sonoma

On their website, Fire Safe Sonoma describes its mission this way:

"Fire Safe Sonoma's mission is to promote fire safety and protect natural and manmade resources in Sonoma County through education, information exchange, resource sharing and community cooperation."

Fire Safe Camp Meeker has been consulting with Fire Safe Sonoma since Sep 21, 2018. They have helped us prepare a Cal Fire fire prevention grant application, and are currently exploring becoming a "fiscal sponsor" for Fire Safe Camp Meeker. This means that they would apply for grants on our behalf, do all of the administration work and disburse the funds to us as we request them.

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

On their website, the Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District describes its mission this way:

"The Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District in Sonoma County facilitates stewardship projects to address water quality, climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and water quantity on private and public lands by providing technical assistance, outreach, education and project implementation. Gold Ridge RCD provides non-regulatory, confidential, free assistance to our community."

OUTSIDE GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS

Sonoma County

The Board of Supervisors is Sonoma County's main governmental agency. The county is divided into 5 districts of roughly equal population. Camp Meeker falls within district 5, which is represented by Lynda Hopkins.

The county recently enacted ordinance 13A "Abatement Of Hazardous Vegetation And Combustible Material", which allows the county to inspect properties, require people to undertake defensible space measures, and penalize them if they fail to undertake those measures within a specified period of time.

Sonoma County Waste Management Agency

The Sonoma County Waste Management Authority handles waste disposal, including toxic materials like paint and other chemicals, as well as compostable materials.

Fire Safe Sonoma has suggested that they might supply dumpsters for community improvement projects such as ours.

University Of California Cooperative Extension

The University Of California Cooperative Extension website describes its purpose this way:

"The mission of the University of California Cooperative Extension is to extend information developed at the University of California to enhance quality of life and the environmental and economic well-being of the citizens of California through research and education."

Stephanie Larson, Director of UCCE in Sonoma County, facilitated a meeting with UCCE staff members Mimi Enright and Kerry Wininger on October 1, 2018. Mimi is program manager for the Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County, and is an expert in firewise landscaping, while Kerry is outreach coordinator for Sudden Oak Death research.

In May of 2019 Steven Swain, a UCCE Environmental Horticulture Advisor, gave a talk on Forest Health as part of a joint community education event organized by Fire Safe Occidental and Fire Safe Camp Meeker. We hope to have knowledgeable people such as Steven, Mimi and Kerry present their research to the community over the coming years, in order to help us find ways of landscaping our homes to minimize the risks of wildfire, and also to help us prepare a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for Camp Meeker which takes landscaping, SOD and other issues into account.