Monday, March 31, 2014

Watershed Talk April 4

Celebrating the 50th
Come to the Portola Valley Library
Any day in April
To honor out creeks

On April 4th come creekside
and share stories of the creeks
A great fan of those waterways
Matt Stoecker will love to share stories.

3:30  Creekside   PV Library

Thursday, March 27, 2014

What I Love About PV: Garden Share

What I love About Portola Valley: The garden share and anywhere where kids make garden truffles--which are really seed bombs.
--Danna Breen

Garden Truffles

Truffle Maker

for info on the Portola Valley Garden Share, contact Rebecca Arora: rebecca at

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why I Volunteer: Yvonne Tryce

As a native of the Peninsula, I grew up in Millbrae exploring the creeks and picking wildflowers on the open slopes.  Summers I spent at Girl Scout camp in the redwoods of Big Basin.  I loved this beautiful area; and, at our local university, I majored in Biology, with the teaching credential coming much later.  Therefore, it is probably clear why I have been so involved in trying to preserve Portola Valley’s natural environment and teach others, especially our children, about its wonders and how they can enjoy and protect it.  Now my goal is to again see Portola Valley have a nature center for sharing the natural beauty, unique geology, and amazing plants and animals of this great place.

  • Following is how one volunteer activity led to another: 
  • Helped start a Ranger Rick club
  • Led Brownie and Girl Scout troops and directed day camp
  • School parent volunteer to teach science
  • E.C.E. chair focused on obtaining science curriculum for early grades
  • Grant writer for PV schools including seven for which I was Project Director, included: SMILE (Science Museum Involving Local Experts)
  • Started teaching nature and science classes at Town Center in a nature center
  • Joined Cultural Arts Committee which was focused on uses of Town Center
  • Nature and Science sub-committee evolved into Nature and Science Committee
  • Encouraging the use of MROSD Hawthorns with its creek, meadows, groves and existing buildings for a Nature Center along with other uses.   

Monday, March 24, 2014

50-Year-Resident Party

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Portola Valley, all 50-year residents are invited to a festive gathering. It will be an opportunity to reminisce, reconnect with old friends, and have photos taken. Please join us!

When: Thursday, April 3, 2-4 pm
Where: The Sequoias Lounge

RSVP: Nancy Lund, 851-1072 or nlund at

A van will circulate from the Sequoias lower parking lot.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Committee Profile: Conservation

responses provided by Jean Eastman

What does your committee do?

The Conservation Committee reviews landscaping and lighting plans for new construction in Portola Valley as well as requests for tree removals.  It serves as an educational resource for the community regarding use of native plants, holding occasional workshops and maintaining a native plant list on the Town website.  Each spring the Conservation Committee conducts a Broom Pull to help control this invasive plant along Town roads.

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?

It is a pleasure to serve with a group of people so knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of Portola Valley and dedicated to protecting the natural beauty and sustainability of the area.  It's a very "hands on" committee.  We have an opportunity to interact with homeowners and to witness Town development first hand.  I enjoy getting to see the results of our work and hope that it makes a real difference to the community.

Are there any projects your committee is particularly proud of?

The Conservation Committee has hosted several well-attended workshops in recent years on Native Plants and Living With Wildlife. I think that our presence on the Town website provides a valuable resource for those seeking detailed  information on native and drought-resistant plants for their landscaping.  We are now launching an exciting new Backyard Habitat project which will encourage and reward homeowners who provide a natural environment for native plants and wildlife.  Application can be made directly to the Committee.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years? What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

I believe that two major trends will continue to pose challenges for the Town as a whole and the Conservation Committee in particular.  Driven by the high cost of land, we have seen  constant pressure to develop residential parcels to the greatest  extent possible.  New homes cover the maximum area allowed and formal landscaping,  often with lawns and exotic plants ill-suited to the land and climate,  are too often the rule.  Chronic draught poses another challenge.  We will have to adapt our landscaping if it is to survive the climate change occurring during our lifetime.  During the next fifty years the Conservation Committee will be deeply involved in seeking creative responses to these trends.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

PV50 Celebration Calendar

Hello, residents!

This week you probably received the Portola Valley 50th Anniversary postcard in the mail, with a list of upcoming events. The blog calendar (in the right-hand column) will be keeping track of these events and we'll have added details for you as they approach. If there's a particular event you'd like to know more about right away, please email us at and we'll put you in touch with the organizers!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Committee Profile: Geologic Safety Committee

Responses provided by Sheldon Breiner

What does your committee do?

We report to the Town Council on matters related to geology and geologic problems such as landslides, earthquake faults and the like.

What do you enjoy about serving on your committee?

The five members of our committee are four geologists and one geophysicist. I enjoy the activities because I have worked in this geologic field for 50 years and did my PhD thesis on earthquake prediction. And, serving on such a committee in this town which straddles the San Andreas fault and has half the territory of the town underlain by potential landslide-prone terrane, makes this all so real - we live here and have to be made aware of the underlying conditions that govern the architecture, location of our homes and what can be done to live more safely.

Are there any projects that your committee was involved in that you're particularly proud of?

I'm very pleased to have our committee advise on the content and publication of the latest version of the Town official geologic map. We go into the field, confirm our understanding of the underlying geology and it directly helps all residents. Not actually part of our committee, I designed a seismograph which is the Town library and is online and can record earthquakes from all over the world--accessible anywhere because it is online.

What issues do you foresee coming before your committee in the next fifty years? What role will your committee play in the future of Portola Valley?

One day, maybe five or ten years from now, there will likely be an earthquake of a magnitude of 7 or 7.5 on the San Andreas fault here in the Town. This will cause the two sides to move past each other by as much as 15 feet (the amount the underlying two plates have already moved since 1906.

Then, there will be aftershocks of magnitude 6 within a day or week and many M 5 for as long as a year after the main event. We have to learn to live with that and plan both house and Town for such earthquakes.

Why I Volunteer: Marianne Plunder

I started out 20 years ago with Blues&BBQ as a new resident not knowing a single person in town - that changed really fast! I see it is an opportunity to influence the town's policy making.

Why I Volunteer: Megan Koch

I believe Portola Valley is a magical place filled with beauty and an incredible community. I want to help ensure this special place holds its splendor for generations to come. I feel blessed to live here.