Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (Stewards), formerly known as Stewards
of Slavianka is a non-profit, environmental and interpretive organization that works in partnership
with California State Parks in the Russian
River District to support volunteer, education and stewardship programs.
We are comprised of an active 10-15 member Board of
Directors, Executive Director, Programs Manager and administrative staff and a membership of over 550 supporters. There are approximately
86 other associations like Stewards throughout the State of California. Each
association has a contractual relationship with State Parks and operates on
State Park property to fulfill their mission.
Stewards was launched in the early 1980s with grass-roots environmentalists and State Parks staff working
together. The Russian River District Cooperating
Association, Stewards of Slavianka, was
incorporated as a non-profit public benefit
corporation in 1985. Stewards began with two programs, Seal Watch and Whale Watch on the Sonoma Coast State Park (SP) beaches.
By 1987, volunteers had organized themselves at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve (SNR) where they
opened a small visitor center and began leading nature walks. In 1990, the volunteers saw
their dream of a new visitor center become a reality when a trailer was purchased for this
purpose. In 1992, Stewards funded a new visitor center at Salt Point State Park overlooking
spectacular Gerstle Cove. In 1997, Stewards began operating the visitor center in Jenner,
overlooking the Russian River estuary. In 2003, Stewards’
members voted to change the name in order to increase funding and volunteer support through
greater name recognition.
Our vision is to provide the public with opportunities for personal inspiration, satisfaction and nurturing of spirit and intellect through environmental stewardship programs. Stewards envisions a corps of volunteers with the skills and knowledge to protect and restore the environment through educational outreach. Promoting the preservation and restoration of existing and newly acquired parkland will provide the public with opportunities for multi-use access and greater enjoyment of the resources in our State Parks.
Our Goals and Objectives
Today, Stewards has expanded its
support to include: new educational programs; maintenance and modernization of the visitors centers; acquisition and restoration of natural habitats on park lands; and vital advocacy efforts.
We support a diverse range of programs designed for school children and the general public, including: campfire programs, Junior Ranger activities, guided redwood ecology nature walks, watershed, cultural history and tidepool education programs. We continue to work to expand the "Volunteers in Parks" (VIP)
programs through recruitment and training to provide high quality
interpretation for park visitors.
Stewards provides volunteer support and funding
for education and resource management. We are raising money for the restoration of the Fife Creek watershed in Armstrong
Redwoods SNR and Austin Creek State Recreation Area (SRA), as well as a large scale restoration effort in the Willow Creek watershed, which is part of Sonoma Coast SP.
We are working towards upgrading and building new interpretive
facilities. Our future plans include a capital campaign to raise money to build new Visitors Centers in Armstrong Woods SNR and the Sonoma Coast SP.
Stewards continues to advocate for support and land acquisition
for our State Parks. We are currently working to save our state parks from closure and service reductions.
In 2008, we worked closely with the California State Parks Foundation and other organizations to help spearhead the successful effort to keep our State Parks open, when 17 of our 48 State Parks were faced with closure due to budget cuts. We continued to explore and support alternative sustainable funding strategies for State Parks through 2010 when Proposition 21 was defeated by California voters.
In 2009, Stewards began keeping the Jenner Visitor Center and restrooms open with community donations. Iin 2012, Stewards entered into an operating agreement with State Parks to keep Austin Creek State Recreation Area open as well as operate the entrance station to both Armstrong Redwoods and Austin Creek. Stewards also began working with State Parks to open Pomo Canyon and Willow Creek campgrounds on a special event permit basis.
Stewards sponsors interpretive talks and naturalist-led tours, hikes, bike rides, kayak trips and other events.
We participate in local community events:
- Bodega Bay Seafood, Art and Wine Festival
- Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival
- Sonoma County Trails Celebration
- Various environmental stewardship events
We promote fundraising activities:
- Annual Old Grove Festival: Music and Theater
- Art in the Park
- Gourmet Hike
- Raffles, Auctions, Dinners
Besides California State Parks, Stewards works in partnership with the following agencies and organizations:
- California Coastal National Monument
- California League of Parks Association (CALPA)
- California State Coastal Commission
- California State Coastal Conservancy
- California State Parks Foundation
- Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Fort Ross Conservancy
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- NOAA Fisheries Service
- Trout Unlimited
- Marine Mammal Center
- The Ocean Conservancy
- Russian River Area Resources and Advocates (RRARA)
- Russian River Chamber of Commerce
- Russian River Rec and Park District
- Russian River Watershed Council
- Sonoma County Schools
- Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and
Open Space District
- Sonoma County Regional Parks
- Sonoma County Trails Council
- Sonoma County Water Agency
- Sonoma Land Trust
- State and Regional Water Quality Control
- West County Watershed Network