The constant bombardment of negative (and too often politicized) news has no doubt depressed many of us. It is, therefore, especially refreshing to see some motivated people, many of whom willingly volunteer their time, who work diligently to improve things in the community.

I am on the county's Wildlife Conservation Commission, and we are privileged to distribute grant money to organizations that contribute to improving our local environmental conditions and to educating everyone on the importance of the related issues. Money comes to the commission as a result of Fish and Wildlife violation-related fines, occasional fines leveled by our courts for environmental-related landowner violations, and periodic additional funding from the county's general fund.

Here are the six groups to whom money was recently granted, and a brief description of what they are doing with that money.

The Napa-Solano Audubon Society will use the funds to educate over 1,000 local students in their classrooms. Helping the younger generation understand better and appreciate more the outdoor world around them should pay dividends in the future.

The Land Trust will help preserve an especially important large meadow near Lake Berryessa. This location has long been considered one of the most important botanical sites in the state, with an incredibly diverse native plant population.

The Resource Conservation District will initiate an improved steelhead and salmon monitoring program that (in conjunction with its rotary screw trap activity) will provide invaluable information on the migration habits of these two important species in the Napa River.

Friends of the Napa River will provide classroom instruction and will organize and oversee numerous student field trips that otherwise might not be possible with the current school budgetary constraints.

Napa Wildlife Rescue will improve their community outreach programs, allowing more people to take advantage of their activities.

Finally, the Napa County Regional Park and Open Space District will institute a new program Napa Girls Outdoors (Napa GO!) designed to provide guided nature hikes and focused outreach to girls and women in the county.

All of these programs can be followed on the organizations' websites. We are indeed blessed to have so many conscientious people working daily to make our county a wonderful place to enjoy the outdoors, both now and in the future.

I encourage you to support all of these organizations.

Steve Orndorf

Napa

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