The Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences, an affiliate of the Mendocino College Foundation, recently received a donation of $25,000 from local community member and retired geologist Robert “Bob” Blanc, to jump start the second half of its capital campaign to restore and refresh the aging buildings at the Coastal Field Station, near Point Arena.
Through the leadership of Professor Steve Cardimona and his team of faculty members, Sue Blundell and Brianna Zuber, a campaign has been underway since 2019 to raise $250,000 to provide badly-needed funds for deferred maintenance and general upgrades at the college field station. Through the generosity of supporting members, and the community at large, the campaign recently reached its 50 percent goal. Now, the affiliate governing board is excited to announce that the very generous donation by Mr. Blanc has launched the second half of the capital campaign.
While use of the Coastal Field Station was reduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is delightful to celebrate the students whom science faculty have been able to support by awarding scholarship funds. This spring coastal community member Noble Davis donated the labor of his company, Dirt Works, in order to provide funding for financial awards to six students of the natural sciences. Through the generosity of community donations to the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society, six other students have received substantial scholarship awards since 2019:
Mendocino Coast Audubon Society Brandon Pill Memorial Scholarship
- 2019 – Jasmine Martin
- 2020 – Taylor Woodruff
- 2021 – Missael Barosa
- 2022 – Shyann Rivera
Mendocino Coast Audubon Society Greg Grantham Memorial Scholarship
- 2021 – Erin Orth
- 2022 – Zachariah Linville
Mary Lou Koeninger Memorial scholarship in Earth Science
Science faculty have also been pleased to award the Mary Lou Koeninger Memorial scholarship in Earth Science to four students since 2019:
- 2019 – Courtney Wagner
- 2020 – Samantha French
- 2021 – Ana Delgado Mendoza
- 2022 – Jenevie Chan
The natural science disciplines at Mendocino College are very pleased to announce the newest tenured faculty members, Dr. Brianna Zuber in Biology and Dr. Greg Allen in Chemistry. All the natural science faculty continue to inspire students, including elementary, junior high, and high school students, as well as the students in their college classes. For example, Biology instructor Dr. Rachel Donham has been helping to organize the Potter Valley Elementary Science Fair for the past two years, and she served as a County Science Fair judge this year.
Astronomy and Physics instructor Dr. Tim Beck is proud that two of his former physics students began PhD programs in physics in fall 2021: Logan Knudson at UC Davis and Emerald Sherwood at Uppsala University in Sweden. In April 2021, Dr. Beck also had his first publication in the field of Astronomy (as co-author): Peter Jenniskens, et al., “Rare 4,000-year comets can cause meteor showers on Earth,” 2021, Icarus (Elsevier).
Meanwhile, the SETI Institute (www.seti.org) is in the process of donating some used cameras to Beck’s program, so Mendocino College students will soon have 16 cameras for sky observing work at each location. In addition, one of Beck’s students is building the all-sky camera for the Taylor Observatory in Kelseyville.
In chemistry, Dr. Marcus Frederickson has filled out the organic chemistry instrument lab with a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) device. Whereas Dr. Frederickson formerly had to take students to Sonoma State to utilize an NMR, Mendocino College students now have access to their own instrument in the Organic Chemistry lab on the Ukiah campus.
After reaching the 40th anniversary of stewardship of the Coastal Field Station property in 2021, many maintenance projects and upgrades are necessary. Even though COVID-19 mitigation protocols slowed repair and maintenance progress, some important accomplishments have still been achieved, thanks to community donations and volunteer help:
- 2017-18: All four houses on site had new roof materials installed.
- 2020: Upgrades were made to the electrical systems in the education building and the well house.
- 2022: Upgrades/improvements are underway to the well water system.
The pandemic has changed a lot of things, but it has not diminished the generosity of the local community donating to support the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station. In 2019, a special commemoration monument was designed and ordered, and in 2021 it was installed on site. Faculty and Field Station Friends want to thank all the donors who have been supporting the work, with special note of the recent donors whose names will be added to the commemoration monument:
Keystone donor ($25k or more)
- Robert P. Blanc – with a gift of $25K to jumpstart the next half of our fundraising campaign
Major donor ($5,000 level)
Sustaining donor ($2,500 level)
The $250,000 capital campaign goal aims to increase facility use and improve student outcomes by upgrading the Coastal Field Station buildings which include a student classroom, a lab space, and dormitories.
To add your support to the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences Capital Campaign, you may submit a contribution via a check made out to Mendocino College and sent to the attention of Earth Science Professor Steve Cardimona, 1000 Hensley Creek Rd, Ukiah, CA, 95482, or donate to the Friends of the Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences online at the Mendocino College Foundation web page (http://foundation.mendocino.edu/donate).
For more information about natural science education at Mendocino College, contact Professor Steve Cardimona at (707) 468-3219.