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Morgan’s group leads charge for new marine sanctuary

A month of parties

Welcome to July, my natal month. Always the best month for parties. As a child, I celebrated my birthday with picnics, circuses and much summer silliness. Away from school, we could bike to the Carnegie Library, anticipating ice cream and cake as we hurried home, our bicycle baskets filled with books.

Parties were celebrated aboard ferries en route to beaches, where the July winds of Eureka, California almost always guaranteed a fine day to fly kites. A beach birthday might end with roasted marshmallows turned into smores, a delightfully gooey alternative to cake.

However and whatever you celebrate this month, I hope you have a happy July, beginning today and including the festivities of the Fourth.

The Fourth of July is also the anniversary of my friend and former colleague Lou Morton and his sweetheart, Carol. Their wedded life began with the bang of firecrackers and remains strong, a true blue American union. We wish them happiness on this, their 31st anniversary, with many more to follow.

Rock on my friend

One afternoon last week, local geologist, neighbor and friend Jim Berkland paid a visit to Creekbottom House. He’d read my brief story about Molly Meyn’s talking rock at the Roundabout and he wanted to set the record straight. Jim arrived at my doorstep with a poem and a melon-sized quartz rock in hand, empirical evidence that he was the first Talking Rock.

Turns out that back in the day (in this case, the ’70s) Jim and his daughter Krista Lynn were in a group called the Indian Princesses, much like Girl Scouts. Krista’s name was Snowflake, and Jim’s was Talking Rock. Together, they camped in teepees, cooked over fires and enjoyed hiking with other girls and parents. Back then, on one camping trip with a group of girls, Jim and Krista painted a lovely round quartz rock with an invitation: “Come to the Tipi of Snowflake and Talking Rock.”Last week Jim handed me that very rock to hold as he read his poem, honoring Krista, in the past, and Mollyanne Meyn today. Sweet.

Toward a safer, more stable world

Other good neighbors in the news today include scientist and ocean protector Dr. Lance Morgan. As Lance’s sweetie, Angela Nardo-Morgan, wrote in an email to me last week, “Something truly monumental happened yesterday (that would be June 17) and Lance made it so. President Barack Obama signed into legislation the largest marine reserve in the world. And to think it all came about in our tiny town, Glen Ellen.”

The area that will now be a protected marine sanctuary includes an array of remote islands in the south-central Pacific, between Hawaii and American Samoa, and the ocean that surrounds them. Among them are Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, and the islands of Wake, Johnston, Jarvis, Howland and Baker.

I followed all of Angela’s suggested links, including the Washington Post, New York Times, Huffington Post, Radio Australia and a whole lot more.

Lance certainly did make the news. In article after article, Lance Morgan is quoted representing his group, the Marine Conservation Institute, of which he is president and CEO.

As the Marine Conservation Institute explains in its mission statement, they are “dedicated to securing permanent, strong protection for the oceans’ most important places – for us and future generations.”

Further, they state, “Marine ecosystems are essential for human survival, wealth and well-being, and are the Earth’s biggest life support system. As a leader in the global movement to protect and recover the integrity of vast ocean areas, Marine Conservation Institute uses the latest science to identify important marine ecosystems around the world and then advocates for their protection.” Working with scientists, politicians and government officials, MCI identifies key threats to areas in the sea, and then creates solutions.

Their recent success, with President Obama vowing to protect the ocean surrounding these islands, is a victory for all environmentalists and leads the way “toward a safer, more stable world,” said Obama.

If you’d like to know more about Lance’s organization, check www.marine-conservation.org. We congratulate our good neighbor Lance for his important work.

Studio 35 opens on Patten Street

Another good neighbor in today’s news is Glen Ellen artist, Jane Antee. On July 5 and 6, from 11 to 5, a new art gallery, Studio 35, holds its grand opening in downtown Sonoma. Among the featured artists is Jane Antee, along with another Glen Ellen artist, Katherine Green.

The gallery includes a back room called “The Zone,” where local art classes and workshops will be held. Jane will be teaching acrylic painting, drawing classes, and workshops, such as mask making, in September and October.

Jane shares, “One of the reasons that I’m so excited about the new gallery is that its philosophy is much, much more than just selling fine art.”

Jane continues, “The gallery’s vision is to inspire art, creativity and participation within the community. To the gallery, community means everyone: the rich, the poor, the able, the disabled, the artists and the art beginners.” Jane adds, “Jude Cameron, the art director, used to be a social worker, and her loves are people and art.”

Since the Sonoma Adult School was closed, Jane has missed “being with people of all ages who look forward to expressing themselves.” Check out the gallery website, studio35sonoma.

Charmian’s London biography

It’s time to share the book selections for the July meeting of the Jack London Book Discussion Group at Jack London State Historic Park.

The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday, July 18. While sitting beneath the beautiful oaks in the upper picnic grounds, the group will discuss Volume 1 of Charmian’s biography, The Book of Jack London, which is for sale as a two-volume set at the park. Volume 2 of Charmian’s biography will be the subject on Friday, Sept. 19. As group leaders and London scholars Susan Nuernberg and Iris Jamahl share, “Now that we’ve discussed Jack’s autobiographies, Martin Eden and John Barleycorn, we turn to biography, and who knew Jack more intimately than Charmian?”

Coming home

Good news from a happy Glen Ellen family who obviously finds our little village tops. Here’s the news from Arthur Dawson: “We just got back from a two-week family trip to D.C., Pennsylvania, my original hometown of Princeton, and New York City. Two nights ago we were on top of the Empire State Building at midnight – quite an incredible view. But coming home to Glen Ellen was even better.”

Happy celebratory Fourth

Finally, I end with happy wishes to all for a celebratory Fourth of July. It wouldn’t hurt to spend a bit of that noisy, raucous day thinking about what you see as the future for our country and how you can help make that happen.

Will Shonbrun expressed some poignant ideas recently in print. Thinking of all those happy, flag-waving children, so prominent at our parade, he hopes never to see them become soldiers in a war. I agree, Will, and will watch the fireworks this year and imagine a glorious celebration of Peace on Earth. Now wouldn’t that be novel – and welcome.

• • •

The Folks in Glen Ellen column also appears online. Look for it at sonomanews.com/category/lifestyle-history. Or look for my name, way at the bottom on the home page at sonomanews.com. Want to see your own name in the news? Share your stories with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before your desired publication date.