Category Archives: Social Capital

Citizen Scientists?

I was talking with Diana Ruiz, Public Affairs Manager for the Riverside – Corona Resource Conservation District about a variety of opportunities  our rich natural environment provides for showing what the true nature of social capital looks like when we measure the  impact on quality of life and economic development.

Ralph Nunez, Riverside’s Parks and Recreation Director and Alisa Sramala the Trails Coordinator are well aware of the potential economic advantage a vibrant trails network could contribute to Riverside’s economy.  There’s a lot of work to do and unfortunately much of it is geared to keeping the wheels on the wagon of delivering current park & rec programs.

The Friends Of Riverside’s Hills a long time  advocate for trails and preserving and restoring our vibrant natural habitat has taken the lead on this project. With the Santa Ana River Trail project being adopted, a number of groups involved in education, health care, environment and recreation are beginning to imagine the possibility of a well used, conveniently connected  network of trails.

This is something fairly easy to implement. It’s  low cost and returns an appreciating high value community asset.  It’s no accident the focus of  UCR’s Medical School will be on raising community health outcomes. Increasing recreational options and making them easy to access is a first step toward positive health outcomes for all of us. Move it or lose it still applies when it comes to our health.

I’m told the Riverside Metropolitan Museum is developing a program for citizen scientists. I wonder how it could turn out if some of them were interested in helping to map and record the necessary data to make this a reality? When I think of turning ‘places into spaces’, this is one of the best ways we have to demonstrate what “Seizing Our Destiny” looks like.

Arlington High School just took first place at the 2010 International Canon Envirothon Championships. They are five time state champs. That tells me something about our social capital. We’re already engaged, energized and effective.

It gets even better.  Samantha Wilson, UCR’s Undergraduate Coordinator for Research in Community is actively looking for neighborhood/city  projects to match with interested students and faculty advisors. We have a living breathing think tank for citizen initiated and implemented projects designed to expand our quality of life.

I think somebody let the genie out of the bottle when they called it Seizing Our Destiny. Either that or we’re starting to get a lot better talking about what’s wanted and needed right now.

Sustainable UCR Celebrates Earth Day And Community Garden Milestone

Neighborhood invited to celebrate with Sustainable UCR at a low-key, acoustic concert to culminate our Earth Week events. The acoustic concert will be on Friday, April 23, from 5-8 PM at our community garden, called “The Growve” off of Watkins Drive.

The concert is called “Groove at the Growve” and there will be no amplified sound. Anyone from the neighborhood is welcome to attend, and it is free. (Anyone is also welcome to join our community garden or attend any of our Earth Week events, and they are all free). We don’t want to do anything that would upset the neighbors.Our goal is to create a sense of community, where everyone feels empowered to change the world.

You can check out for Earth Week events.Included are several workshops on composting, energy conservation, sustainABLE living, and a food systems workshop, as well as tree planting, and other interactive demonstrations.
Please contact if you have questions.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate the milestone of creating a wonderful community asset in just over one year.  Very inspiring!

Thanks For Voting For Our Community Garden Grant

Thanks for voting. I particularly want to acknowledge the support from the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership board members in getting the word out.

As a result of forwarding our Request For Your Vote notice for our neighborhood, we’re  establish a network of Riverside neighborhood community gardening info.

I’ve linked our site with Growcology. I love what Growcology is doing. I know they’re connected with the Wood Streets Green Team and they have both participated in each other’s programs.

Pat Silvestri, Green Team board member for community and home gardening goddess, will be representing the Wood Streets Green Team at Growcology’s vegetable gardening workshop Saturday.

If you are interested in joining a Green Team community garden working group, please contact Pat directly,

By the way, the Green Team is being featured at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting as one of the Riverside Neighborhood Partnership’s (RNP) neighborhood success stories. I think one of the biggest successes is how it’s created an opening for these types of connections citywide.

Thanks for voting. I really appreciate the support from the RNP board members in getting the word out. In posting this notice for our neighborhood, I ran across several other grant opportunities offered by corporate partners. Many of these offerings are PR initiatives designed for social networking connections to build or support brand awareness.

We all know there’s too much corporate money out there, nevertheless, we’ll be happy to take some of it off their hands and leverage it into something far more valuable than money. At the very least we’ll invent a far richer standard for profit.