Our Rural Heritage
|One of the numerous American Badger dens in the Paula Lane grasslands (2007).|
P.L.A.N. is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to preservation of rural land and open space, wildlife habitat and historic resources.
We began as a community-based, grassroots neighborhood group in 2001. We organized to express concerns about a proposed residential development in our rural area of West Petaluma, Sonoma County. The proposal would have created an urban island with city services of streetlights, widened urban streets and sidewalks, sewer service and water in one of the City's and County's oldest rural agricultural communities. As residential development had moved from the urban core of Petaluma westward, the Paula Lane area now represented the fringe of the City and a transition area to rural life.
Over time, after much documentation, several public hearings, and many years, the developer and property owner did not renew their option contract agreement, and the development company removed itself from the process. During this same time period, from 2001 to 2005, our neighborhood group formalized our organization, which we named "Paula Lane Action Network" or "P.L.A.N."
Our initial number of 18 neighbors grew to about 70 households, the organizational structure of a 5-member Board of Directors, Fundraising Committee, and Advisory Committee, with all-volunteer supporters. We were fortunate to be fiscally sponsored by the Bodega Land Trust as we applied for and awaited our 501(c)3 nonprofit public benefit designation. We received our designation in 2004.
|Deer herd on Paula Lane, foraging in early morning.|
In September of 2008, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved recommendations for the Matching Grants program of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. The Paula Lane Open Space Preserve, a project of partnership between our nonprofit P.L.A.N. and the City of Petaluma, in cooperation with the Open Space District, was one of seven projects recommended for evaluation and funding consideration for 2008.
Preserving the 11.22 acres on Paula Lane at Sunset Drive will lead to habitat preservation, public amenities, on-site caretakers, and educational programs in sustainable agriculture and gardening and habitat restoration. To learn more about the Open Space Preserve, please visit History.
We believe involvement in issues of interest to our community sustains us by building healthy relationships that connect people with the land and each other. We also believe nurturing the educational experience in Nature for youth and adults is integral to a healthy, sustainable society. Education in respecting boundaries of protected wildlife habitat, helping wildlife benefit from restoration of habitat areas and protecting movement corridors, cultivating a garden, eating healthfully and sharing garden abundance with others, provide for whole and lasting life experiences.
Preserving areas where there are inter-relationships - history, open space, critical habitat and movement corridors, grasslands, trees, and seasonal wetlands - creates a setting where multifaceted health-producing life experiences can occur. Such interactive experiences of life with Nature and Community character, we believe, contribute to our sense of well being and ability to give to others.
These are experiences money cannot buy. Of course, fundraising is an integral part of our own sustainability process, so we invite you to visit How to Help and discover how you can contribute to the Paula Lane Open Space Preserve and our Vision!
We thank you for visiting our web site and hope you'll find information that will be helpful for you. If you have questions, suggestions, or ideas, we welcome your input.