Our good friends Tom Rusert and Darren Peterie of Sonoma Birding are the inspired brains behind the CBC4 Kids. This is a 90 minute course where children and their parents get out in nature and observe and count wildlife. It is a small scale version of the big Audubon event that has been performed by adults for 100 years, but it has the added bonus of getting kids interested in wildlife, getting kids outside, and teaching families to appreciate nature together. I am always awed and impressed with what Tom is able to do with his dream, and he has been invited to Washington D.C. and Canada to teach about this. Here’s his lovely PBS clip about the program. Tom was recently given the Ludlow Griscom award for his amazing hard work teaching the citizen science of bird watching to youth. You might recognize their faces as regulars at the beaver festival, where they are enthusiastic supporters.
This story is timely in every way because Tom was recently instrumental in finding a new fiscal sponsor for Worth A Dam. Way back in 2008 I connected with Bill and Helen Feil of Land for Urban Wildlife in Pleasant Hill. That allowed us to receive charitable donations, apply for funds and accept contributions. I never in a million years thought Worth A Dam, our beavers, or our mission would be around all this time, but with Helen’s untimely death last year it was time for us to move on. Land for Urban Wildlife was a wonderful, supportive umbrella that allowed us to get on our feet. And since we apparently aren’t going anywhere, it was time for us to transition to a more formal sponsor relationship. Tom gallantly introduced us to his sponsor, Loren Cole of Inquiring Systems Inc, and recommended we become a new project. ISI is an organization like Earth Island takes on related sustainable NGOs throughout the world and provides non-profit status. I checked with a few friends who are with EI and found they weren’t thrilled with the process. Not to mention that EI takes 9% of proceeds and 15% of federal grants. ISI will require only 5% to pay for their services, and will take nothing at all on money we’ve already accrued.
ISI has provided project management, business management, fiscal sponsorship services, training and technical assistance services to 3,650+ primarily nonprofit and NGO organizations, along with some value-driven, socially responsible for-profit entities.
Which means to us is that Worth A Dam get help setting up its new bank account, new paypal relationship, filing its paper work, managing request for audits and the like. Leaving us to focus on the subject that we cared about in the first place: Beavers. What this means to you is that as of January 1st, 2014, any donation you make will be made out to Worth A Dam, ISI instead of LUW. As someone who’s been wading through the paperwork on my own for the last 5 years, I am enormously grateful for the help, and appreciative that Tom got me in the door.
Oh and just in case you haven’t opened your Contra Costa watershed calendar yet, go straight to June where you’ll be greeted by this smiling face! (No mention of Worth A Dam and a beaver photo by someone OTHER than Cheryl – but still a nod to our beavers and very good friend FRO!).
October features another hero Cassy Campbell who happily volunteered for a million jobs at the beaver festival. John Finger is the great artist behind the calendar and emailed for advice this year saying, (“I want someone associated with the beavers, but not political, any suggestions?”) Umm…a few. The other 10 months have nice people featured in the calendar we haven’t figured out how to get to help us yet.