President Chris “Top Gun” Gallagher opened our meeting by 1) being much closer to his camera than we are used to and 2) reminding us his year’s Rotary International President is Holger Knaack from the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, and our theme is Rotary Opens Opportunities.
 
 
 
 
Greeter, Garth Riopelle, started with two quotes:
  1. Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right – Henry Ford
  2. Don’t let yesterday take too much of today – Winston Churchill
We learned a few updates about Garth.  His dental practice is proud to say his whole staff is vaccinated, and the office has all safety protocols in place.  Not an easy task to accomplish.
In Riopelle Family news – Michelle has retired, oldest son is working a new job in the computer field, and middle son is working on his MBA in Colorado. Finally, youngest son reports to his parents he’s a senior in college.  Garth and Michelle are awaiting confirmation of graduation ceremony this year. 
 
WELCOME GUESTS
Thomas Files from Interact and presenter Juliana Schirmer joined this week’s meeting.  
 
NEW MEMBER(s)
Chris Gayler inducted new member Michael Roberts.  Warm welcome to you Michael!  We all look forward to meeting you in 3D soon!  If not able to give the traditional Rotary handshake, we’ll hopefully be able to elbow bump, or just give a friendly wave from six feet away. 
Alan Love earned his blue badge! Impressive accomplishment to meet all those goals during COVID.  Elbow bump/friendly wave in 3D applies to you too, Alan!
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS  
Thomas Files from Interact gave an update on the multitude of activities the club has going on.  Anyone else feel like a couch slug after listening to what this dynamic group of kids accomplishes?  Here’s a BRIEF list:
 
  • Environmental Craft Day (3/5) - making crafts out of recycled goods over Zoom
 
  • Interact Spectrum Night: Do All Interactors Think the Same? (3/6)  Social Bonding Night based on YouTube videos by Jubilee
 
  • Acts of Kindness Card Making (3/19) Interact is working with Cal High Leadership to write cards for hospital patients who are indirectly impacted by COVID
 
  • Game Night Fundraiser (3/26) Fun game night involving team competitions, Kahoot! Prizes: Interact merch, Hydroflask. $5 fee, proceeds go to Texas relief organizations
 
6 Club Meeting – Tuesday March 9th at 5:30 p.m.  Bill Clarkson, former mayor of San Ramon, will speak on the history of San Ramon.  More information to follow.
Picnic with Rotaract – live and in person but socially distanced, this will be held March 20th at 2:00 p.m.  More details to follow from PP Colette Lay
 
RECOGNITIONS
 
 
Just three this week – Geoff Disch, Chris Gayler and Steve Wilcox - were recognized $50 each by President Top Gun for Zoom backgrounds promoting their businesses.  It should be noted that Chris Gayler’s squirrel background often seen is fine free. 
 
Six Stupendous Snippets of Squirrel Science | NOVA | PBS | NOVA | PBS
 
Speaking of squirrels… not “recognized” for interruption of President Gallagher’s facilitation of the meeting was Hermann Welm, who had suggestions for improvement to the flag salute. We’ll see next meeting if Mr. Gallagher implements the suggestion, or retroactively recognizes Mr. Welm.   
 
PROGRAM- Juliana Schirmer EAST BAY REGIONAL PARKS
 
Our newest blue badge, Alan Love, introduced speaker Juliana Schirmer who holds dual titles as Chief Administrative Officer, Regional Parks Foundation and Deputy Assistant General Manager, Public Affairs, East Bay Regional Park District.   Juliana has an impressive and extensive background in nonprofit administration, resource development, program management, public relations and communications, and organizational development.
 
Founded in 1934, the East Bay Regional Park District preserves and protects 125,000 acres of beautiful open space in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.  It’s 73 Regional Parks include critical wildlife habitats, shorelines, lakes, creeks, ranchlands and historic sites.  In addition to preserving and protecting these lands and the species that inhabit them, the Park District works to keep open space accessible to the public for exercise and recreation, offering more than 1,250 miles of trails, as well as picnic areas, campgrounds, swim facilities and golf courses. 
 
Separately, the Regional Parks Foundation was founded in 1969 to support the EBRPD through fundraising to provide universal access, environmental stewardship, educational and recreational programs and the acquisitions of parklands. Their focus is on five pillars of support:
 
Universal Access – ensuring “access for all” by funding a variety of programs that provide resource for underserves populations.
 
Youth Development – serving more than 10,000 youths per year, providing the opportunity to attend camp, explore parks and participate in environmental education.
 
Community Engagement – provided in numerous ways.  Outreach events, advocacy, corporate engagement, membership and donations/fundraising.
 
Environmental Stewardship - committed to inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards through various initiatives, including habitat restoration and improvement, shoreline cleanups, Kids Healthy Outdoor Challenge program.
Health & Wellness – part of the Bay Area’s Health Parks, Healthy People initiative.  They ensure the community can connect with the natural world by supporting health-focused programs like SHINE (Stay Healthy in Nature Every Day), Trails Challenge and multicultural wellness walks. 
 
Safety – ensuring a safe experience for all visitors through the purchase of public safety equipment, support for fire prevention efforts and funding safety-related programs like fuel management projects, junior lifeguard certification, swimming lessons and camps and Share Our Trail program.
 
The Foundation also offers estate planning seminars free of charge and receives legacy gifts on behalf of the East Bay Regional Park District.  $137,578 in bequests were received in 2020.   In 2020 the Foundation receiving over $5,000,000 from fundraising efforts.  This was 290% of their goal, and marked the 10th consecutive year of growth. 
 
In closing, Juliana shared an overview of their financials, and a list of board members.  She emphasized they are always looking for new board members. 
 
 
RAFFLE:
Gary Sloan assisted in the raffle for the second time, as this scribe cannot simultaneously coordinate the raffle, and he did another excellent job.  The was Dr. Glen Weber, but alas he only pulled a blue marble.   Only 10 marbles left, and the chances to pull white is increasing.  PLAY BIG!
The meeting was adjourned early at a specific time not recorded. 
 
Respectfully submitted,
Julie McKinney, Scribe