Hands Around Shollenberger: A day to demonstrate commitment to a local gem

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

Shollenberger Park is located on the south side of Petaluma. It also sits on the east side of the Petaluma River. This wonderful park is home to a huge variety of birds, many of which do not have an equally safe environment close by. The habitat created by the wetlands and the surrounding park is ideal for both birds and bird watchers alike, while also creating a beautiful sanctuary for walkers, runners, families and their canine companions. My husband and I have brought Lily and Cousteau here several times.

Though I am new to Petaluma, I have quickly become aware of the dedication to preserving local gems such as Shollenberger Park. Many of them fall under siege from developers and changing times, but the support from the community to protect these areas is quite amazing. Shollenberger in particular is at risk of having a new neighbor, an asphalt plant, which would be located directly across the river. Environmentalists are concerned that this addition would compromise the integrity of the wetlands and surrounding habitats, as well as destroying valuable resources for local wildlife.

As a demonstration of their commitment to protecting the park, over 1300 people gathered at Shollenberger on Sunday for “Hands Around Shollenberger.” Supporters wore red, as a Valentine’s Day dedication to the park, and stood hand to hand all the way around the two-mile trail. It was an amazing site to see. Neither the cold nor the wind could keep these hearty souls away. At 3:00pm, a plane flew overhead to take an aerial photograph of the event. I am excited to see the results. It truly was inspiring to see the dedication from local citizens to preserving Shollenberger Park.

If you are interested in learning more about the effort to protect Shollenberger, I recommend visiting the Save Shollenberger Website here.

A Walk in the Park: Shollenberger Park in Petaluma

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

This past weekend we decided to take Lily and Cousteau for a walk around Shollenberger Park on the south end of Petaluma. The park is a 165-acre area with a two-mile trail surrounding wetlands and mudflats. On the north end of the park, another trail juts off toward the marina that goes a mile through a marsh. The park also abuts the Petaluma River, which is a beautiful sight to see. To give you an idea of the flow of things, the river flows downstream to San Pablo Bay, which connects into San Francisco Bay, which connects, of course, to the Pacific Ocean.

Shollenberger is a great place to go for a walk, run, or casual stroll. The whole park is filled with different kinds of birds. There are ducks, geese, swans, vultures, avocets, gulls, doves, plovers, falcons, crows, hummingbirds, and more. And that’s just a list of the commonly seen birds in the wetlands! There is a great list of birds on the Petaluma Wetlands website, the organization that oversees the protection and operation of the park. You can see the list at www.petalumawetlands.org.

As we walked around the trail, I could not help but think that this is exactly the type of park that both provides a healthy place for people to visit and a safe haven for local wildlife. It is a place of balance. People can enjoy the trails and the scenery, and the birds and other creatures can live relatively undisturbed. What a wonderful environment.

We continue to explore wonderful places like this in and around our new stomping grounds. Let the adventures continue!