Community briefs, Jan. 11: UC Master Gardeners holding free classes

UC Master Gardeners holding free classes

WATSONVILLE — The UC Master Gardeners of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties are expanding their program of free hands-on classes for home gardeners in 2018.

Classes will be offered each month in multiple locations including the UC Master Gardener Demonstration Garden in Watsonville, Costanoa Commons Farm in Santa Cruz, Quail Hollow Ranch Park in Felton, and San Juan Bautista Mission Gardens. 

Two classes are scheduled for Saturday.

The first, “Basics of Rose Care,” is set for 10 a.m. to noon at the UC Cooperative Extension, 1430 Freedom Blvd., Suite E, in Watsonville.

UC Master Gardener Dawn Avery will talk about summer and winter pruning, watering, mulching and fertilizing, followed by a discussion of rose disorders. Attendees are advised to bring gloves and clippers for a hands-on rose pruning demonstration.

The class also includes a 20-minute overview on sharpening and maintaining your pruning tools.

The second class on Saturday, “Planting Fruit Trees,” will take place 1-3 p.m. at Costanoa Commons Farm, 335 Golf Club Drive in Santa Cruz.

Winter is the ideal time to plant bare root fruit trees with winter rains to help them get established. UC Master Gardener Diane Mahan, an experienced arborist, will explain how to plan tree locations and select appropriate trees. She will also demonstrate how to prepare the soil and plant the trees.

Classes will be outdoors, so dress appropriately. In case of rain, they will be moved indoors. Attendees are asked to arrive 15 minutes early for check-in.

For information or to reserve a spot, visit


Wetlands Watch hosting docent training

WATSONVILLE — Watsonville Wetlands Watch will be conducting docent training from Jan. 17 to March 7.

Docent trainees are treated to an inside look at the Pajaro Valley and its wide network of wetlands. Local experts share the ecology, history and restoration of the wetlands during the seven-week program.

The interactive sessions include Wednesday evening presentations and Saturday morning field trips, visiting sites not normally seen by the public.

Docent volunteers help with field trips, lead wetland tours, participate in special events, work in the greenhouse and native plant demonstration garden and more. No previous teaching or wetland experience is necessary, and beginners are welcome.

For information, email [email protected] or visit


Registration open for art classes

WATSONVILLE — Registration for the RISE Community Art Classes is open until Jan. 22.

Classes are available for ages 11-22 years old and are $40.

Classes offered include acoustic guitar, expressive painting, community theater, hip-hop dance and African drumming.

The classes will be held at Muzzio Park Community Center, 26 West Front St. in Watsonville.

For information, call 768-3240.


Gary Griggs to receive Global Oceans Award

SANTA CRUZ — The Seymour Marine Discovery Center will honor UC Santa Cruz geologist Gary Griggs with the 2018 Global Oceans Award on March 24.

This award is bestowed annually to an individual who has made significant contributions to ocean science, conservation, policy or education. Past awardees include Leon Panetta, Kathryn Sullivan, Julie Packard, Richard Harris and others.

Griggs, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, is a leading authority on coastal issues. He has written or co-authored 10 books about the California coast and coastal issues in general, and he is a frequent resource for news media on questions of climate change, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and related issues.

Now in his 50th year at UC Santa Cruz, Griggs served as director of the Institute of Marine Sciences for 26 years.

This benefit event supports the education programs of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Reservations are now being accepted. For information, visit or call 459-3800.


Capital Insurance Group gift will support Red Cross disaster-response activities

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — Capital Insurance Group, a Monterey-based insurance carrier, is giving $70,000 to the American Red Cross of the Central Coast. The gift is enabling the chapter to purchase a disaster-response vehicle that will primarily be used in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

The Red Cross’s Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) are a staple of the organization’s ability to support individuals, communities and first responders during disasters. While Red Cross shelters provide food, water, and other supplies at fixed locations, ERVs deliver supplies on-the-go to neighborhoods, resource centers, and other disaster-related sites where they are needed.

“We are so appreciative of this major commitment from Capital Insurance Group,” said Michele Averill, CEO of the Red Cross of the Central Coast. “While CIG’s generosity is making it possible for us to purchase this vehicle, the company’s gift is really supporting the many people who will be served by this vehicle during times of disaster.”

Headquartered in Monterey, CIG has been serving the Western U.S. since 1898 with coverage for personal, commercial, and agricultural business segments, with an emphasis on property-related exposures.

“We are honored to support our local chapter of the Red Cross, as we share in the mission of repairing lives,” said Arne Chatterton, president and CEO of CIG. “This past year we witnessed the most devastating wildfires California has ever seen. We understand the magnitude of what it takes to restore our communities during and after a crisis. We are proud to help the Red Cross purchase this new ERV and support disaster relief efforts in a tangible way.”

In addition to CIG’s support, the local chapter’s purchase of the ERV was made possible by three other large gifts: $33,500 from the Robert and Virginia Stanton Endowment of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, $10,000 from Pacific Gas & Electric and $10,000 from an individual donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

“The support we received from each and every one of these special donors has made the purchase of this emergency vehicle a reality for us,” Averill said. “We are very appreciative of all of their generosity.”

The new ERV will be built to specifications requested by the local chapter. Expected to be delivered to the Central Coast in the next nine to 12 months, the vehicle will replace one of three that the local chapter currently maintains in the tri-country area. The vehicle to be replaced is about 25 years old.


Public comment period opens for offshore drilling proposal

CALIFORNIA — On Monday, the comment period for the proposed 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program opened to the public. The Department of Interior will be collecting public comments for 60 days, through March 9.

On Jan. 4, the Trump Administration announced its plan to open all federal U.S. waters, including 90 percent of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), for potential oil and gas exploration and development. The Draft Proposed Program (DPP) recommends two oil drill lease opportunities off of the central coast of California.

Comments can be made through the web portal. Navigate to and under the “Search” tab, in the space provided, type in “Docket ID: BOEM-2017-0074” to submit comments and to view other comments already submitted.

Comments can also be made by mail, in an envelope labeled “Comments for the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed National Oil and Gas Leasing Program” and mailed (or hand delivered) to Ms. Kelly Hammerle, Chief, National Oil and Gas Leasing Program Development and Coordination Branch, Leasing Division, Office of Strategic Resources, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (VAM-LD), 45600 Woodland Road, Sterling, VA 20166-9216, telephone (703) 787-1613. Written comments may also be hand delivered at a public meeting to the BOEM official in charge.


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