On Sunday, June 11th, the Coastal Watershed Council welcomed two hundred guests to the banks of the San Lorenzo River for an unforgettable evening. Together, guests meandered along the river banks enjoying champagne, cocktails, dinner and dessert while viewing the river in a way they’ve never seen it before. This third annual Meander dinner celebrated the successes the Coastal Watershed Council has achieved and inspired attendees to think of what’s next for the San Lorenzo River and Santa Cruz.
At the dinner, CWC Executive Director Greg Pepping swore in the event’s primary organizers – Kendra Baker of The Glass Jar / Assembly and Timerie Gordon of Nielsen Studios – as Watershed Rangers. For those who follow our work, you know that Watershed Rangers are individuals who have learned about the San Lorenzo River, how we both impact and rely on the river and have sworn a pledge to take action to reconnect a healthy San Lorenzo River watershed to a vibrant community. That’s just what Kendra and Timerie did and, it’s what we asked of each and every attendee at the event.
After a welcome from Mayor Cynthia Chase and CWC’s Greg Pepping, attendees experienced a river lesson of their own, with talks from watershed experts including Gary Griggs of UCSC, Erin Loury of FishBio, Hans Haveman of H&H Fresh Fish, Frank Perry of the Capitola Museum of History and Alev Bilginsoy and Mollie Behn of the Coastal Watershed Council. As attendees walked along the river, they learned about the natural history of the river, about anadromous fish habitat and about the threats facing the health of the river. Guests noshed on delicious bites from Bill the Oyster Man, Friend In Cheeses Jam.Co, Patagonia Provisions and Companion Bakeshop and sipped on cocktails from Kraft Bar as they gazed over the San Lorenzo River.
Soon everyone was seated for a family-style meal from Santa Cruz’s top chefs including Chef Jessica Yarr of Assembly Restaurant, Damani Thomas of Oswald, Brad Briske of Home, Katherine Stern of La Posta. and Mark Denham of Soif. Michelle Williams, Executive Director of Arts Council Santa Cruz County greeted the crowd and shared her love for the river and how she and her team play a role by building community at the river through arts. CWC’s Greg Pepping talked about the role that the Coastal Watershed Council plays in reconnecting the community to the river, in empowering youth to realize their full potential as environmental leaders today and the role that each of us play in this story. With a warm welcome and tremendous thanks, Greg invited Kendra Baker of The Glass Jar and Timerie Gordon of Nielsen Studios to the microphone and they shared how their creation of Meander is an example of what they can do for the river. With that, Greg proudly swore in Kendra and Timerie as CWC’s newest Watershed Rangers.
Just as Greg asked the attendees of Meander, we’ll ask you – what role can you play for the San Lorenzo River? In answering that question, dinner guests wrote their own pledges including:
- Bring my daughter here to enjoy it and bring our family here to be, and love, the pause it provides
- Donate to CWC every year. Bring my family here, and advocate for a more accessible river
- Birdwatching along the river and ride my bike along the levee
- Make a point to spend time by myself and with friends at the river and educating others
- Work to improve city policies so our community embraces and enjoys our river
- Promote youth exposure, education, engagement, and stewardship
- Bring myself, wife, and animals here often and report to the authorities any actions or behaviors that would deter others from enjoying the river
- Continue to apply my scientific experience to improve river quality
- Talk to other people about the importance of the river
What pledge will you make for the river? Will you commit to taking action for a healthier, cleaner, safer and more vibrant San Lorenzo River that we can all be proud of? Make a commitment to yourself to improve your river and your community today. Share your commitment with us at CWC if you’d like, and let us know how we can help you fulfill your pledge today.
Meander is made possible by presenting sponsors the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Dean Witter Foundation, along with signature sponsor Plantronics and premiere sponsors SC RiverFront LLC and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, and our generous host committee, including the Engfer Family, Josh Fodor and Ecological Concerns, Inc., Plantronics staff, Lighthouse Bank, Bonnie Keet, Slatter Construction, Inc., and Cathy Schlumbrecht Cruzin’ Courses. Meander has been designed and implemented by an amazing creative team led by Timerie Gordon from Nielsen Studios and Kendra Baker from Glass Jar/Assembly. Thank you.