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Santa Rosa Resident Receives National Sierra Club Award

SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 23, 2000 – Santa Rosa resident Carol Vellutini was among those receiving national awards from the Sierra Club this year.

Vellutini received the Oliver Kehrlein Award, which honors service to the Sierra Club’s outings program.

Vellutini has been involved with outings programs in Sonoma County for nearly 20 years. In 1981, she joined with 15 people to do the first California Beach Clean-up in Sonoma County. She served as county coordinator for the annual beach clean-up for 16 years, and also initiated a year-round Adopt-A-Beach program in the county.

Vellutini has served as Outings Chair for the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club since 1984 and as Outings Chair for the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club since 1985. In 1986, she worked to reopen Hood Mountain Regional Park, which had been closed to the public for four years after a storm wiped out its only access road. In 1987, she formed Friends of Hood Mountain Park. Vellutini also was a coordinator on construction of the Kortum Trail, a 2.5 mile footpath from Blind Beach to Wright’s Beach in Sonoma Coast State Park.

For the past 13 years, Vellutini has led a series of walks during the week after work called "Evening Walks With Friends," which have become very popular in the county. She also joined with other conservation groups and the City of Santa Rosa to create Journey Sonoma, a coalition dedicated to hiking, biking and riding through Sonoma County.

Most recently, Vellutini has become involved with efforts to eradicate a noxious weed, called arundo donax, from Sonoma County, integrating that effort with local outings.

"Carol exemplifies an active and involved citizen environmentalist," said state Assemblymember Patricia Wiggins, who has been on Sierra Club outings with Vellutini.

A schoolteacher for 27 years, Vellutini also initiated a summer school program with an emphasis on the outdoors and began a yearly campout for the students and their parents that was a success.

"Carol has provided youth and adults in our community with valuable educational experiences through her leadership on hikes, walks, county trails and promotion and protection of regional and state parks programs," said Fifth District Supervisor Mike Reilly. "Her efforts to protect the beauty and environmental treasures which we hold so dear in Sonoma County have truly enriched all of our lives."

"Carol knows that environmental protection sometimes requires hard work, but also that that hard work changes people’s values," said Peter Aschroft of the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club. " People who have spent a day picking up garbage on a beach will treat that beach with more respect in the future. As a teacher, trip leader and a project organizer, Carol has instilled love of the natural word in those with whom she has worked."

Vellutini has previously received several other awards, including Conservationist of the Year award from the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club and Environmentalist of the Year award from COAAST (Californians Organized to Acquire Access to State Tidelands).

The Sierra Club, which was founded in 1892 by John Muir, is the country’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. It currently has more than 600,000 members. For more information on the Sonoma Group of the Sierra Club visit their website at http://www.monitor.net/redwood/sonoma/.


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