This year’s George and Phyllis Ellman grants, totaling $29,000, will be awarded to five Sonoma Valley non-profit organizations in support of projects fostering environmental awareness and specific environmental improvements. A sixth grant will be made to the Sonoma Classical Music Society to support classical music performances in Sonoma Valley, a particular interest of Mr. and Mrs. Ellman.
According to the Sonoma Valley Fund, this is the fifth and final year of the Ellman grants. The original grant of $150,000 has benefited several important environmental and historical preservation projects in the valley
The 2012 Ellman/Sonoma Valley Fund grants will enable continuation of two projects supporting environmental restoration and improved public access. The Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen will use these funds to connect their trail to the Glen Oaks Ranch trail; and, Sonoma Land Trust will connect the Loop Trail at Glen Oaks Ranch to the new benches, maintain and improve both the Upper Loop Trail and the George Ellman trails.
In the area of environmental education and awareness, Ellman/Sonoma Valley Fund grants will permit Landpaths to continue to engage third grade students at Flowery Elementary School in its “In Our Own Backyard” program of field-based environmental activities and grassland restoration projects; Quarryhill Botanical Gardens to reach out to Sonoma Valley youth of all backgrounds with its outdoor curriculum designed to increase understanding and appreciation for the natural world; and the Sonoma Ecology Center to continue to expand its K-12 Watershed Education Program which provides hands-on, bilingual science and outdoor experiences. Last year the program worked with 1,200 students.
“George and Phyllis Ellman were kind and generous people. Thanks to their foresight, these important environmental and music programs in Sonoma Valley will continue during the coming year,” said Maggie Haywood, chairman of the Sonoma Valley Fund Ellman Grants Committee. “Their love of Sonoma County, expressed in their gift, leaves a legacy that will long be remembered by all of us.