June 23rd and 24th saw the Flood Mitigation League of Ross Valley setting up shop in a 10 x 10 booth located at the busy intersection of Pine and San Anselmo Avenue. The booth was a donation of the Chamber of Commerce and the location, location, location and the exposure it gave us could not have been better.
By 6 am Saturday morning member Bob Lewis had festooned the booth with Seawood Photo’s sad and memorable pictures of the 2005 New Year’s Eve flood. By 9:00, Bob was joined by board member Lise Stampfli and Rupert Russel who completed finishing touches to the display. The booth was decorated with Wellies used as flower vases, red umbrellas, a banner sporting our new theme T-shirt design, authentic caution tape (a survival of the Kent Avenue flood) sandbags, muddy buckets, a FEMA map of flooded parcels, informational handouts, and news clippings.
A Serious Side to the Festivities
While light hearted as the skies were fair, participants saw a serious side to the festivities as well.
Many folks stopped and engaged us in conversation about the New Year’s Eve flood event, their experiences, and the ongoing effort to mitigate flood dangers. One of the key draws was Seawood’s images—a visual reminder of the destructive power of flood waters. Many visitors to the booth stressed the need to find solutions this year. Creek cleaning was very high on their list. Some had taken part in a recent voter survey that attempts to measure public support for funding mitigation measures. In every case individuals told us that they supported local financing of mitigation— they wanted workable and realistic solutions, and they wanted local government to continue to seek federal and state funding as well.
Many individuals asked to be kept informed about our progress and volunteered to help us tag high water marks throughout the floodplain. As we talked with people about their flood experience, we were able to identify some affected areas that are not listed on the FEMA map. We were able to take notes and discuss these locations for future tagging.
Partly public education and membership drive, and partly fun for all ages, the volunteer booth staffers sold memberships, tee shirts, raffle tickets and led children in flood-themed games.
Fun and Games
For the kids there were two guessing games: 1) Guess the Weight of An Authentic Nokomis Neighborhood Sandbag (donated by the Lewis family, they just raised their home 3 feet), and 2) Guess the Amount of Change Burried in the Flood Mud ( artist's clay slurry). The winner got to take home all of the money! After paying $1 a guess, there was much hefting of sand, and dipping of small hands into the ooey gooey mud as contestants endeavored to solve the problems.
For the grownups, 3 drawings were held. Raffled off were 2 cases of Andrew Lane cabernet sauvignon donated by David Dixon of the MIG group and an Emergency Survival Kit packed in a duffle, valued at $170 retail. This delicious wine -sampled beforehand by the committee was judged to be superb! It is available at Andronicos.
And the Winners Were:
Winners of the Sandbag weight game prizes (a SuperSoaker for the 2 closest guesses) were Travis Bonini and Jacob Cowan.
Winner of the Flood Mud Money game was Camille Davis of Fairfax who is just 3 years old. We'll have to get back to you on how she spends it all.
Val Carolsen and another Valarie (last name unknown) won the cases of wine and Doug Luna won the Disaster Survival Kit.
We were winners too!
Total receipts for the 2 days were over $1,700. Many new members were signed up and our contact list for both the TAG program and e-mail news bulletins more than doubled. At the end of the day, while footsore and a little hoarse from talking, volunteers were warmed by our reception and our success measured not only in dollars but also in goodwill and well wishes.