Galbreath Wildlands Facilities
Center: Frances Archbold Hufty Learning Center, a possible model for the Galbreath Wildlands Facilities
California's North Coast is globally recognized for its biodiversity and productivity. In the last century, the dynamic interplay of culture, economics, on these rich landscapes has created a wealth of environmental challenges. We need to learn from the stories of the North Coast, build greater understanding of human-environment connections, and share that information with others.
The Galbreath Wildlands Preserve is a diamond in the rough. The 3,670-acre inspirational property is one of only a handful of university field sites in northern California dedicated to discovery of North Coast environments. Since 2004, the Galbreath has been open to visitors, attracting researchers, educators, students and managers to study local environments, cultures and economies. The lands are diverse and inspirational, but faciities are limited. Most visitors come to the Preserve on day trips (2.5 hour round trip from Santa Rosa) that allow them to spend a few hours at the Preserve before returning to the North Bay. Few are prepared to bring camping equipment, drinking water, and supplies needed for overnight stays.
We envision a facility where learners of all ages and affiliations can study the unique biodiversity and resource challenges on the North Coast. The facilities will make overnight stays and on-site meetings possible, and include sleeping areas, shared kitchen, and meeting and work rooms. An observatory with 1-meter telescope is also planned to take advantage of dark skies in the region. Facility design will minimize impacts (carbon neutral), inspire emotional connections between visitors and the land, and enhance communication among visitors.
The Galbreath Wildlands Facilities will create a learning communty focused on North Coast appreciation and understanding. Activities will include:
- long-term research: faculty, students and agency personnel from all over the world will study local environments, cultures and economics. Sharing new research is at the heart of Preserve educational programs.
- class experiences: faculty, agency staff, and community members will teach within their field of interest: art, biology, chemistry, entomology, water conservation, energy management, anthropology, economics, wine business and lifelong learning.
- community engagement: local schools and community groups will be encouraged to visit the Preserve to learn about North Coast environments and research.
- targeted workshops: Preserve staff will host and support workshops that engage the community, researchers and managers in projects and discussions about local resource issues, such as timber harvesting, salmon fisheries, grazing, invasive species and changing climate.
Building design is underway. In association with RIM Architects, the Preserves has conducted 3 planning charettes with community members and faculty, staff and students at SSU. RIM Architects is developing a master plan with site plan, budget, and drawings.
The facility planning process creates unique opportunities for student scholarship and community engagement. To date, we have engaged students in:
Master Plan for a Galbreath Wildlands Preserve - The Master Plan effort has included faculty and students.
Galbreath Special Status Species Assessment - An assessment of the potential for 110 special status species to occur on Galbreath Preserve was undertaken as part of environmental planning for Preserve facilities.
We invite you to create these facilities with us. Together let’s explore, discover and protect one of the most remarkable regions of the world. Through these facilities, we will bring people together to focus on the critical issues of our time playing out in our own backyard. Join us in creating the world you want for your children and grandchildren and become part of a global conversation for innovation and sustainability in the 21st century and beyond.