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Annual Review 2009

2009 was a banner year for Sierra Club Angeles Chapter volunteers. Grassroots activism was at its best in a variety of ways throughout the local landscape. Political activists were out in full force, conservation priorities were established and achieved, and outdoor activities far and wide provided breathtaking vistas and a cornucopia of choices. Angeles Chapter members created change, mobilized, celebrated nature and championed for environmental justice. Have a look inside to view just a sampling of what took place throughout the year…

Bighorn sheep in Alaska ©2009 Dick Clement
Bighorn sheep in Alaska; ©2009 Dick Clement

Preserving Our Planet — Conservation

Griffith Park Receives Landmark Status
Angeles Chapter activists won a victory for open space when Los Angeles City Council overwhelmingly voted to approve Historic- Cultural Monument Status for Griffith Park and its urban wilderness replete with biological and cultural treasures. This significant distinction will provide an unprecedented level of protection – no changes to the park can be made without public input. Activists were also successful in efforts to thwart the expansion plans of the Autry Museum, further protecting Griffith Park’s open space.

San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel Mountains, Sierra Club archive

39,000 Acres of the San Gabriel Mountains Protected As Wilderness
Volunteers built broad public and political support and achieved the stunning success of protecting Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness’s 26,700 acres of scenic canyons and rugged peaks along with 12,300 acres of Magic Mountain Wilderness with condor habitat on oak and chaparral covered hillside. These areas are now protected from roads, power lines, mining, coal exploration and commercial development. President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Wilderness Bill into law establishing these two new areas along with more than 2 million additional acres in nine states.

Solar Panels
Solar panels
©2009 Gary Leonard

Thanks to volunteer efforts a databaseof building permits, showed price discrepancies in the fees associated with the installation of photovoltaic (solar panels) among different cities. The finalreport was distributed to all jurisdictions and received widespread press coverage and praise throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. As a result of this project, many areas reduced their fees significantly, including unincorporated Los Angeles County and the City of Long Beach, making residential solar a more affordable option for homeowners seeking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Protecting Our Planet — Political Activism

As the 4th most sought-after political endorsement in the country, the Angeles Chapter continued to prove why the Sierra Club holds this coveted ranking. Thanks in large part to an endorsement and vigorous campaigning by the Angeles Chapter, Dr. Frank Gomez won a seat on the Montebello City Council. With Hilda Solis tapped by President Obama to be U.S. Secretary of Labor, our L.A. Political Committee joined forces with other environmental and labor groups to ensure a positive replacement be elected to her vacated seat; former Board of Equalization Chair, and environmental champion, Dr. Judy Chu successfully campaigned to win the congressional seat. And our Political Committees celebrated when Paul Koretz and Paul Krekorian won seats on the Los Angeles City Council after their fierce battles for votes in districts with many environmental issues and Wendy Greuel won her successful bid for L.A. City Controller.

Also in 2009, Chapter delegates traveled to Washington D.C. to take part in the Good Job, Green Jobs Conference. Hundreds of activists educated Congress on Capitol Hill about supporting new policies will lead to energy independence and encourage job creation and retention.

Enjoying and Exploring Our Planet — Outings

Little Hikers ©2009 Silvia Darie
Vietnam
Vietnam ©2009 Bruce Hale

Entities of the Angeles Chapter continue to seek out the great outdoors, hosting over 6,000 outings throughout 2009. There’s something for everyone every single day of the year. Choices abound in snow, on mountains, in the forest, and under the stars. All levels are available and all ages enjoy the wonders of nature.

There’s nothing like a vacation. Embarking on one, whether it is close by or far away invigorates and enhances the human spirit and nowhere is that more in evidence than the trips organized by the Angeles Chapter Fundraising Outings Committee. This year’s excursions included adventure trips to Southern China and Tibet, the Caribbean, Nicaragua, Alaska, Hawaii, Coastal Redwood and Glacier National Park. The list of destinations in the U.S. and worldwide goes on and on. These journeys may be vastly different in locale but they are all exciting with spectacular sights and sounds and fun, interesting fellow travelers. The committee does a fantastic job of educating members and the public about the Sierra Club. Through these well-organized trips, the Fundraising Committee is able to contribute considerable financial support for the Chapter’s conservation projects, the Southern Sierran newsletter, Schedule of Activities, Group projects and much more. No other trip captures John Muir’s travels in Alaska better than the popular Alaska Cruise to Glacier Bay.

Coastal Redwoods Hike
Coastal Redwoods Hike ©2009 Mike Sappingfield

Restoring Our Planet — Restoration

Immediate Call To Action…
As the Station Fire raged in the Angeles National Forest, Chapter members began making plans to respond. Even before the largest fire in the forest’s history was contained, the Angeles Chapter Forest Recovery Project emerged to create a corps of Sierra Club volunteers dedicated to the responsible restoration of the Angeles National Forest. Once again, heeding the call, hundreds of Angeles Chapter activists responded and signed up to participate in this hands-on restoration.

The Ballona Restoration Task Force held several restoration planting efforts in the Ballona Wetlands ecosystem, including participation in President Obama’s National Day of Service. Activists worked to promote ecologically sound, community-led restoration based on good science instead of the large scale damage done by bulldozers.

Resprouting Coast Live Oak
Resprouting Coast Live Oak ©2009 Cliff McLean

 

Outreach ©2009 Maddalena Serra

Outreach

Newcomer gatherings sponsored by entities and organized by the Angeles Chapter Membership Committee continue to thrive and draw greater numbers with each new event. Leaders of the Membership Committee work diligently to recruit and inform new members of all the wonderful opportunities awaiting them within the Chapter, promote diversity, and educate them and current members about the activities and programs supported by the Angeles Chapter.

Our outreach extended to another successful collaboration with Go Green Expo, and we continued our longstanding partnership with ongoing support from Amoeba Music. The Angeles Chapter was graced with the presence of Allison Chin, National Board of Director’s President, as keynote speaker at our 2009 Annual Awards Banquet.

2010 is off and running!

Along with the rest of the world, the Angeles Chapter faced a challenging year financially in 2009. With a revamped March Appeal and a successful new and hopefully annual event, the Legendary Bingo fundraiser proved to be both fun and profitable. Being fiscally responsible is a major focus.

Things are humming along after an informative Environmental Law Workshop, a noteworthy, well-attended screening of Split Estate in Montebello and the establishment of a Chapter-wide Diversity Committee and the Little Hikers and Junior Explorers Committee.

Looking ahead…

Caribbean Bay
Caribbean Bay ©2009 Montrose Travel

Mid-term November elections will soon be here and both the L.A. and O.C. Political Committees will be kept busy with endorsements as the state elects a new governor and seats open up at national, state and local levels.

The Angeles Chapter looks forward to combining efforts with the Climate Recovery Partnership in protecting our California Coastline. Our land use task forces continue their efforts to preserve open space in the Coyote Hills, Puente Hills and Montebello Hills.

Outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers will have wonderful opportunities for travel and hikes near and far. There will be something for everyone.

Costa Rican Orchid
Costa Rican orchid ©2009 Mike Sappingfield
Spider Monkey
Spider Monkey ©2009 Mike Sappingfield
costa Rican QuetzalCosta Rican quetzal
©2009 Mike Sappingfield
California GnatcatcherCalifornia gnatcatcher, Sierra Club archives