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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sebastopol Students Lead Us to Connect

By Lucas Oshun
Global Student Embassy (GSE) is now beginning our fourth year of youth leadership and grassroots international relations. As a director of programs, I am continuously inspired by the commitment of students, teachers and community members who volunteer their time. The energy and determination participants of all ages bring to GSE projects in California, Tanzania, and Ecuador shows us that we are tapping into something real. We support each other’s goals, and we accomplish a lot.

Please join us on Saturday, November 5 at 6:30 pm at the Sebastopol Community Center for dinner, live music and a silent auction. This is Global Student Embassy’s fourth annual benefit event. We greatly appreciate your support and interest in our mission!

Local to International
Sonoma County: GSE will launch its Environmental Action and Youth Leadership Program this fall, in partnership with the Sonoma Land Trust and local Sonoma County Resource Conservation Districts (RCD). The program will provide hands-on experiences for Windsor, Sebastopol, and other Sonoma County high school students in habitat restoration work and organic gardening projects.

Marin County: This fall, we will work with students at Sir Francis Drake and Redwood High Schools cultivating ecological literacy through school garden projects and native habitat restoration. Students at both high schools will also participate in bimonthly meetings to prepare for the winter visit of international students from Ecuador and Tanzania. Visiting students will stay at the homes of GSE students and partner on projects designed by Marin GSE participants.

Ecuador: We’ve just returned from Bahia de Caraquez, where students from California and Ecuador dove into a number of projects with great enthusiasm and openess towards one another. Together we worked on GSE’s reforestation project, put our energy into caring for two organic gardens at local high schools and designed a workshop series, in Spanish, on gardening. Students also built a greenhouse to support ongoing germination of native species for reforestation with the goal of producing 3,000 new seedlings for the 2012 planting season.

Tanzania: GSE Tanzania began this summer’s exchange program with a stay in a Maasai community outside the Morogoro city limits. The experience was life changing; we learned so much from these folks whose culture is so different from our own. Together we established a library, planted a fruit orchard and painted a mural representing the value and beauty of education. We connected with one another on so many levels. We all were grateful and felt deeply rewarded to have been welcomed so kindly into this amazing community.

In Morogoro we reconnected with our friends at Kilakala and Mzumbe Secondary Schools to continue work on the projects we began during our 2010 exchange. At Kilakala, students built a greenhouse and created art signs to use as educational tools, depicting the process of grafting, tree planting, compost-making, and maintaining tree health. We worked to upgrade Mzumbe’s poultry project by building a garden that will complement its mini-farm. Manure from the chickens will fertilize the garden, and produce grown in the adjacent garden will provide nutrients for the chickens. Students worked together to install efficient drip irrigation, a practice that is uncommon in Tanzania. We are eager to hear progress on these projects!

We have many local volunteer opportunities to work with students and community members on restoration projects and gardens, as well as contributing to our annual exchange in January and February when visiting students are here in Sonoma County.

To get involved: please contact us at Donations can be made online at

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