March 8 is International Women’s Day, which reminds us of the incredible women of Sonoma Valley who have done so much to protect and preserve this beautiful place. One such woman is Christy Vreeland, a onetime volunteer at Sonoma Ecology Center who, in the mid 1990s, decided to do something about the weedy and trash-filled Nathanson Creek. Thanks to her effort and vision, today’s Nathanson Creek Preserve is a three-quarter-mile greenbelt through the heart of Sonoma, enjoyed by people of all ages and supporting a variety of wildlife.

In the late 1990s, Christy took on an even bigger project: protecting the undeveloped parts of Sonoma Developmental Center and its neighboring properties, resulting in a wildlife corridor connecting Napa County to Sonoma Mountain. At SEC we took up her cause, working with state and local agencies to create a new county land-use designation – and the now-famous Sonoma Valley Wildlife Corridor became essential to the region’s ecological health.

Christy Vreeland has since passed away, but her legacy lives on. On this day, we’d like to express our gratitude for all she’s done to make our Valley thrive.