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River Awards Gala - October 3 at Shone Farm


October 3 at Shone Farm
River Awards Gala

By Kate Wilson

Russian Riverkeeper is inviting the community to our new annual event - the River Awards Gala. The River Awards will honor and highlight the people, businesses and farms that are leading the Russian River to a more climate resilient future. It will also help educate our community on the actions the awardees are taking to increase our resiliency to climate impacts such as our current drought and recent floods.

The Gala will feature a sumptuous organic farm-to-table dinner by A La Heart Catering, live music by jazz guitarist Nate Lopez, our world-class local beer and wine, a loaded silent auction and live auction with Senator Mike McGuire and a great time with friends from across the watershed. 

Our theme for the Awards is “defining sustainable” and features the Marty Griffin Friend of the Russian River Award and awards for Business Water Conservation Hero, Pure Farms Pure Water, Leadership in Vineyard Sustainability, and Volunteer of the Year award. We are pleased to announce a few of the winners…others are still being decided as of press time!

The Marty Griffin Friend of the Russian River will go to the filmmakers of the documentary Russian River: All Rivers. This non-profit project was produced, written and directed by residents of Sonoma County who like most everyone on our planet, depend on their local watershed to live. Bill Sorenson, Stella Kwiecinski and Nancy Econome put their heart and souls into making a beautiful film that should resonate with anyone who cares about our beloved river.

Our Business Water Conservation Hero will be awarded to Lagunitas Brewing Company. They are reducing their water use by up to 40% by building a polishing facility to treat their wastewater so that they can reuse it on site. This will permanently reduce water use from the Russian River for each barrel of beer produced forever and reducing per unit use of water is a critical step to getting our river and community through future droughts.

Our Pure Farms Pure Water award will be presented to Singing Frog Farms in Sebastopol. Farmer Paul Kaisers’ methods are at the forefront of a movement to build soil health that is gaining steam as an answer to drought and reducing green gases. Paul’s farm is a huge financial and environmental success story; he earns 3 times of most vegetable farms! He farms without plowing (called no-till) to preserve the natural soil structure and community of organisms. By using copious amounts of compost, Paul builds up his soils health to be rich and fertile, and in the process helps to keep carbon stored in the ground and his water use extremely low, as little as an hour per week. This healthy soil eliminates the need for any use of chemicals conventional or organic!

Our Volunteer of the Year will be awarded to Chris Shands of Santa Rosa. Selecting a Volunteer of the Year is always tough since so many hardworking volunteers help make Riverkeeper’s work possible every year. Chris has stood out this year by taking on the toughest jobs at Riverkeeper Stewardship Park and without his help it would have been near impossible to complete the Park on schedule. Chris is also one of our most cheerful volunteers and everyone enjoys working with Chris making him this year’s choice for Volunteer of the Year!

Our Leadership in Vineyard Sustainability award is still being decided as of Gazette press time so join us on October 3rd to hear who the winner will be!

Saturday, October 3 from 4-8 p.m. at Shone Farm. Tickets are $50 in advance and are expected to sell out before the event. 

Purchase at: Volunteers are also needed, sign up at We are still seeking sponsors for this event; contact us at if you’d like to support Riverkeeper’s work. Questions? 707-433-1958.