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January 17, 2019
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RP Downtown project underway ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency RP has a new director of public safety Learn to docent at the SSU Fairfield Osborn Preserve USCIS presents free training on how to apply for citizenship Cotati Police Chief Parish swears in new officer Garber More than 276,000 Dreamers have renewed DACA 2018 local stories which made history Caltrans works toward decarbonizing California transportation Help save lives by donating blood El Camino graduates A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP AG Becerra issues consumer alert on price gouging in fire-affected communities PG&E has a prediction model Baseball League receives donation from local motorcycle club Cougars beat Bulldogs Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” CPI receives funding to offer counseling in schools Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion Rohnert Park road updates Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU Operators ordered to pay for false advertising violations Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! 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Saturday at the Laguna with CCC

By: Phebe Hong
July 8, 2010

On a bright, beautiful March morning, I attended my very first Creek Stewardship Day with the Cotati Creek Critters. At first, the idea of working with a group of strangers and my own lack of gardening experience made me nervous to join. However, my decision to volunteer that day is a decision I will never regret.

I found out about CCC through an article in the newspaper. After visiting their Web site, I decided it would be a great opportunity to gain some volunteer hours. After all, as a high school sophomore, there is a lot of pressure from colleges and parents to get out and serve the community. I figured volunteering to restore the upper reach of Laguna de Santa Rosa would look better on my college app than sitting around watching TV on a Saturday morning. Little did I know CCC had much more in store for me than just some “volunteer hours.”

The day started out with a brief, informative demonstration by Wade (Belew) and Jenny (Blaker). To my surprise, the planting, weeding, and restoration involved in the process proved to be quite simple and straightforward, even for an amateur gardener like me. In fact, I learned many new weeding techniques I’ve later used to help my mom in our own backyard.

I also met a variety of interesting, friendly volunteers during the planting. There were people from all walks of life, including an energetic 7-year-old boy and a retired teacher. I struck up a conversation with a SSU student and we chatted about numerous topics ranging from environmental research to college parties. Through my social interaction with the other volunteers, I learned a lot more than just planting that day.

What surprised me most about my experience was the connection it had with my classroom. Though it was a Saturday (and thus a day I usually like to forget about school), I gained a whole new exciting perspective on environmental restoration I could relate to the ecology lectures in my AP Biology class.

In particular, I learned the crucial functions of a watershed and the importance of native grasses, among other things. Being physically outside in a natural setting brought the abstract lessons from my textbook out into the real world.

Finally, my day with the Cotati Creek Critters refreshed my appreciation for the outdoors. In a technological age, it is easy for high school students to get absorbed in a world of texting and Facebook. But out there, next to the Laguna de Santa Rosa, with the cool breeze brushing against my face and the gorgeous nature surrounding me, I really felt awake. I distinctly remember the hard-earned sweat felt especially amazing!

In the end, my involvement with Cotati Creek Critters turned out to be much more than a mere tally of community service hours. It became a rewarding, enriching experience that benefited me in many ways. I encourage all students to go out to a Creek Stewardship Day in the fall - you’ll benefit from it immensely. I, for one, know I can’t wait for the return of fall when I get to continue my great experiences with CCC.

Cotati Creek Critters volunteers are people of all ages and backgrounds, including students from pre-school through university levels. Phebe Hong writes: “I am 16 years old and I attend Santa Rosa High School. Some other facts include: I play soccer, piano, and my favorite subject is biology.” Above is her recent experience volunteering with the CCC.