2011: Breaking Ground to Reclaim our Sierra

Five years of The Sierra Fund’s Mining’s Toxic Legacy Initiative have given us new clarity in how we look at the picture of California’s mining heritage.  We have uncovered new information about how this legacy affects our health and our environment, and we have built a network of advisors including community members and experts.  Now, it’s time to start working together to make a difference in our environment and our communities.

Part of this change is reflected in new language – after years of telling the region about “mining’s toxic legacy” we are re-naming our project “Reclaiming the Sierra.”  This new emphasis highlights the positive actions that can be taken toward ecological and cultural restoration by taking on the challenge of mining’s toxic legacy.

Our strategy in this new phase is to drill down in a few key communities in conjunction with pilot projects identified by the new Mining Toxins Working Group.  We are also in the process of developing an exciting, interactive website to assist with outreach and collaboration. (Sneak a preview of the new website here—we will be launching in the next couple weeks!)

As our focus shifts, our outreach program in particular is changing.  Since 2008, the program has pursued broad goals of reaching individuals in every county of the Sierra, resulting in contact with thousands of people.  These ambitious goals have been reached, thanks to a great deal of hard work and many miles covered by our community organizer Mike Thornton.  We wish Mike the best as he moves on from his position at The Sierra Fund, with many thanks for getting us this far down the road!

We look forward to working with you in 2011 as we break new ground to “Reclaim the Sierra.”