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Did you know today is World Environment Day? Recognized globally, June 5 is a chance for all of us to show the world our love and support of the natural environment on which we depend.

This worldwide day reminds us that the most profound environmentalism is always local first and foremost. That’s why, in honor of World Environment Day, we’re providing the following list of 30 Things You Can Do to Keep Sonoma Valley Healthy.

May every day in Sonoma Valley be one for the environment!


  1. Conserve water, particularly water used for landscaping. Grow lawn only where you actually use it to picnic or play on.
  2. Landscape with natives. Attract birds and butterflies, reduce water use, learn about the ecosystem your home is part of.
  3. Treasure trees. Plant them, keep them, let them stand when they die so that birds and beneficial insects can use them. Keep summer water away from oaks unless they grew up with it.
  4. Drive less. Take a walk or a bike ride. It’s good for you, and it helps break our addiction to cars.
  5. Control cats and dogs. Cats are instinctive hunters of native birds and off-leash dogs can push out native wildlife. Bestow your love on native wildlife, as well as pets.
  6. Tell your county supervisor and state and federal representatives that you care about the environment. How else can they know how to represent you?
  7. Discourage invasive animal species like possums, pigs, and wild turkeys. Keep your trash sealed tight.
  8. Understand that transit and clustered development are the only way to preserve a rural landscape as our human population increases.
  9. Reduce or eliminate the use of toxics in your house, yard, vineyard, and property. Shift from traditional dry cleaners to environmentally friendly dry cleaners.
  10. Take a nature walk on the Sonoma Overlook Trail or in one of our state parks. Learn about the intricate workings and quiet beauty of Sonoma’s landscape.
  11. Celebrate our beautiful native vegetation by discouraging invasive plant species like French broom, English ivy, yellow starthistle, vinca, and Arundo. Replace them with native plants that nourish the local foodweb.
  12. Cut your neighbors some slack. We are all part of the problem, and the solution! Environmental problems are usually complex, and don’t have simple bad guys. For example, residential areas use at least as much and often more water and pesticides per acre as vineyards.
  13. Groundwater gets recharged and our creeks stay clean when rainwater flows gently and slowly. Reduce paved areas, check out permeable paving options, plant vegetation, and use swales and low spots to allow precious rain to infiltrate the soil.
  14. Especially at places of business, consider ways to save money and do good by reducing energy, water, and materials use.
  15. On larger properties, locate your uses so that there are still wide, healthy connections between areas of undisturbed habitat. When possible, help reconnect patches of wildland. Remove or reconfigure fences that unnecessarily block the movement of wildlife.
  16. Grow a garden. It’s restful, recreational, and you’ll never get better food.
  17. Support farmer’s markets. Friday mornings in the Depot Park parking lot year-round, Tuesday evenings on the Plaza April through October. Support local produce and flowers at Oak Hill Farm, the Patch, and the Sonoma Garden Park.
  18. Buy local. You’ll get better service, support your neighbors, and pay less in hidden costs, such as transportation.
  19. Talk to people about how trees, natural beauty, wildlife, and open spaces help create a high quality of life. Share your love of the land with people—you’ll probably find out they share it.
  20. If you’re building or remodeling, minimize the “footprint” of buildings, hard surfaces, and landscaping. The land is gorgeous—enjoy it, don’t replace it.
  21. Give creeks breathing room. Let them grow rich, thriving forests by keeping activities at least 100 feet away from the banks. This also helps filter sediment and other pollutants, provides habitat and connects habitat, recharges groundwater, and reduces flooding.
  22. Support our Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. Protect our open spaces! Tell someone who owns wonderful land about conservation easements.
  23. Our valley is as attractive for its natural beauty as it is for its world class wines—help promote it this way.
  24. Support your environment by volunteering for or making a donation to groups that help preserve it.
  25. Set an example for others, especially children.
  26. Use and promote solar energy, “green” roofing, low impact construction, hybrid and biodiesel transit, and other appropriate technologies.
  27. Say hello to a stranger. Our community maintains a small-town, human-scale feeling because we learn to recognize and care about each other.
  28. Support bike paths and walking paths.
  29. Learn where rare species live and what they need to survive.
  30. Think about what makes this valley special to you. Support those qualities!