We are almost 3/4 of the way through 2018 and it has been a remarkable year for Umpqua Watersheds (UW) thanks to the diligent work of our dedicated staff, board of directors, volunteers and the tremendous support of our membership. Our “CORE” areas of Conservation, Outreach, Restoration and Education have accomplished so much as reflected in the articles in this newsletter. I am so proud to be associated with this organization because of the important work to preserve, protect, restore and celebrate our precious watershed.
Outreach is vitally important to sustaining UW because it helps us raise financial support, add to our membership and inform people and other organizations about the mission of UW. Already this year, our outreach events have included our annual membership banquet and auctions, speakers, hikes, concerts and celebrations. Patrick Schneider has volunteered hundreds of hours at UW as Program Director for KQUA, 99.7 helping UW outreach and raising the level of visibility in the community.
In June, we had our first “Outback Event”. Our Facility Management team put our stage in the parking lot behind our building. We partnered with Old Soul Pizza, Two-Shy Brewing and Pelican Brewing to bring Lance Canales and The Flood to Roseburg from Fresno, California. Lance has played all over the world and gave us a remarkable performance and promised to come back again. It was gratifying to hear so many positive comments about the concert. We hope to have Outback Events throughout the summer next year which will include concerts, movies and presentations.
In July we hosted the third annual campout to celebrate the service of our AmeriCorps volunteer. “Camp Christine” was held at Horseshoe Bend Campground on the Umpqua National Forest. Eighteen United Communities AmeriCorps program members attended including Maris Wilson who served in Ashland this past year and will join Christine Smith as UW AmeriCorps members for 2018-19. Christine and Maris will anchor our Outreach initiatives during the next year. In addition to being co-chairs of our Outreach Committee, they are planning to host a weekly radio show on KQUA focused on Environmental Education called SEEDS starting in the fall. While the exact format of the show is yet to be determined, the goal is to provide information and insight into environmental education programming. One of the primary goals of the program will be to attract young people to become actively involved with UW. We are so excited that Christine is coming back for a second year and that Maris is coming to UW to serve her second year in the program. They are remarkable young women who will help ensure that UW Outreach programs in the coming year will be the most successful in the long history of our organization.
We also celebrated the 32nd River Appreciation Day during Camp Christine at Horseshoe Bend. Over 70 people attended and enjoyed the North Umpqua River while listening to a great concert by Sons of the Soil. It is always so much fun to get together with the UW faithful and folks from outside the organization to enjoy and reflect on the wonderful river that makes our community so special. The last weekend in July, we had our annual Twin Lakes Youth Wilderness Campout. Twenty-two people including 10 young people from Casa de Belen home for transitional housing attended the three-day campout. In addition to camping and experiencing the beautiful Umpqua National Forest, attendees also enjoyed presentations on wildlife biology, botany, wilderness camping and native history and storytelling. The campout is so rewarding to everyone involved as it helps to foster an appreciation for the environment in young people and plants seeds for the next generation of environmentalists.
Next month we will have our largest outreach event, the 9th annual Umpqua Brew Fest (UBF). Approximately 1,000 people will gather at the Douglas County Fairgrounds to enjoy sampling of beer from over 50 breweries and great food from O’Tooles Pub while listening to live music. The event not only raises thousands of dollars to support Umpqua Watersheds it also gives us a great opportunity to connect with people and businesses in our community. Most of the expenses related to the event are paid for by our sponsors. Once again, FCR (First Call Resolution) will be our title sponsor for the event. The brew fest relies on the donation of beer, wine, cider and mead from businesses and distributors. Please support our sponsors whenever you can.
The brew fest could not happen without hundreds of hours of work from volunteers. Planning for the event and coordinating with brewers, sponsors, musicians and vendors is quite a task. During the event over 100 volunteers are needed. Please consider volunteering to help. There are three shifts; you can sign up to volunteer by going to umpquabrewfest.info.
Over the last couple of years environmentalists have experienced an “earthquake” as we have seen assaults on the most important environmental protections from the current administration. Most of us feel shock, dismay and bewilderment due to the threats to the EPA and other agencies whose charter is to protect our environment. While it is easy to think that the worst may be over because of the upcoming midterm elections, the greater threat may lurk ahead as the tsunami from the earthquake approaches. Changes to laws, relaxed regulation and the addition of judges who are not supportive of environmental protections are a real threat. We need your help! Please attend our outreach events, renew your membership and donate to support UW as you are able. We appreciate your support!