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Dwight Center for ecological research preparing to open

[caption id="attachment_19715" align="alignleft" width="216" caption="Spring wildflowers in bloom at Pepperwood Preserve"][/caption]

The Pepperwood Preserve will hold its annual wildflower festival on April 10. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the free event will showcase the native wildflowers of Pepperwood and the views of the Mayacamas Mountains.

“This year Pepperwood has a lot to celebrate during our annual Wildflower Festival – including the upcoming opening of the new Dwight Center for ecological research and education,” said Pepperwood’s Executive Director Dr. Lisa Micheli.

Santa Rosa Junior College biology courses will start using the Dwight Center next month, said Greg Damron, the outreach director at Pepperwood.

The research building was designed by Ned Forrest of Forrest Architects and is being built by Midstate Construction. The 9,500-square-foot building will have a research laboratory, classrooms, a library and meeting rooms. When complete, the Pepperwood Foundation will apply for LEED gold certification.

“Our other programs that are currently in the Bechtel House will start using the facility, too,” Mr. Damron said.

[caption id="attachment_19712" align="alignright" width="288" caption="The Dwight Center at Pepperwood Preserve"][/caption]

In 2005, Herb Dwight, former CEO of Optical Coating Laboratory, and his wife, Jane bought the property. That same year, the Dwights established the Pepperwood Foundation with the vision to purchase the preserve, which they did in the same year, and have since worked steadily to develop it into a research and educational center as well as “a model of effective preservation and management of wildlands.” Pepperwood is under the umbrella of the Community Foundation Sonoma County.

Pepperwood Preserve is dedicated to the protection of the region’s biodiversity in the 3,200-acre preserve.

Pepperwood Preserve’s educational offerings are accessed through Santa Rosa Junior College and range from free family hikes to college-accredited field courses.

Roughly 1,000 local school children per year visit Pepperwood via a K-8 science field trip program. Schools Program Manager Margaret Boeger said after participation in the programs, students leave with a better understanding of the natural world and an appreciation for the biological diversity of Sonoma County.

Pepperwood also hosts advanced study projects through Sonoma State University, University of California, the California Academy of Sciences and other research affiliates, which will make use of the Dwight Center as well.

More information on the Wildflower Festival and Pepperwood Preserve can be found at www.pepperwoodpreserve.org.

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The Healdsburg Education Foundation established a new scholarship to benefit graduates of Healdsburg High School going on to study visual arts in a college setting.

This new scholarship was established to honor Nina Zanzi, who grew up in Alexander Valley and attended Healdsburg High School, graduating in 1936. Ms. Zanzi was greatly influenced by HHS teachers including Bertha Vranna, Gladys Learned and Laura Destruel.

She went on to study at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

“My Aunt Nina, a lifelong artist, was passionate about the arts and education. She never forgot the wonderful education and support she received from Healdsburg High School,” Ms. Zanzi’s niece, Linda Lotspeich, said.

The amount of the award is $1,000 for a graduating senior from Healdsburg High School who will be attending either a four-year college to pursue visual arts or an accredited art school.

The first award will be made this spring to a 2010 Healdsburg High School graduating senior.

The Healdsburg Education Foundation is particularly pleased to announce that the funds for this scholarship were given in the form of an endowment, which means the scholarship should continue to aid Healdsburg graduates far into the future.

Ms. Lotspeich has also directed an additional $15,000 from her aunt’s trust to be divided between the new Construction and Sustainability Academy. For more information on this donation or any HEF-related matter, please call Director Pamela Swan at 707-433-1223 or visit www.hefschools.com.

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Submit items for this column to Jenna V. Loceff at jloceff@busjrnl.com, 707-521-4259 or fax 707-521-5292.