November 22, 2016

By Leslie Crenna

Every Thanksgiving season my family circles (there are a few) join hands over a beautiful meal and express what makes us feel grateful. Usually it has something to do with each other.

I have been Communications Coordinator with Cool Davis not quite a full year but I want to express my deep appreciation for the board and staff here who work not because it makes them the big bucks but because it matters. Climate matters. This is our home and we want it to be a livable, breathable, and joyful place.

As our pioneering executive director, Chris Granger puts her all into making Cool Davis a strong advocate for our community and its future.

I want to say how fulfilling it is to be working here with Chris on real solutions every single day. When I first moved to Davis in 2012, there were two directions I could have taken: get a job . . . or follow my passion. So much has fallen into place because I have followed my passion. Every day my optimism grows because I’m doing what I love and what feels vital.

But enough about me, I couldn’t have pumped out nearly as many goodies without some very important volunteers. I feel especially grateful for these dedicated folks who have made what I do possible. They might be in transition, retired, or looking for the same kind of fulfillment, but they have contributed in their own way for many of the same reasons as the staff here.

Thanks to . . .

Alex Sauerwein and Kristin Heinemeir
Volunteers Alex Sauerwein and Kristin Heinemeir at Solar Fair June 2016

Alex Sauerwein: Our Civic Spark intern who led the beginning of the solar campaign this summer. It was awesome connecting with a fellow UCSC slug, digging up the dirt on solar, and organizing a super successful solar fair together. (Actually, he was staff.) Good luck on your law school endeavors, Alex!

Mike Kluk: Hailing from Placer County, Mike arrived soon after a white board donation bearing the name of his home chicken coop, interesting coincidence. Mike’s pieces get better every day and he certainly nails the technical aspects of electric vehicles and solar systems with ease. It’s fabulous to have him and his family return here to Davis and even more fabulous that he often tackles two articles for every due date.

Johan Verink: Johan and I met at Green Drinks and immediately recognized a shared interest in alternatives to wastewater. He is a superlative photographer and is pursuing ways to standardize units of consumption so we can more easily understand our impact on the environment. Stock photos beware, Johan is here!

Yvonne Hunter: Yvonne is a determined individual with a knack for sharp, telling photos. She has added to our visual coffers immeasurably, of late for local and relevant photos around rooftop solar systems. She volunteers with Cool Davis in many ways, but it’s the photos that are working for me.

Volunteer Eva Dopico
Volunteer Eva Dopico turns on the heat at El Rayito at Cool Davis Solar Fair 2016.

Eva Dopico: Eva picked the right profession–running after and educating young children. She has more energy than the sun!

Carla Arango: Carla is transitioning from the university and writing with the Cal Aggie to the next step in her life and has graced us with a series of articles on solar power pioneers. We hope she finds time for more.

Sophia Lodigiani: Even though Sophia only gave us one article, it was fantastic! Her technique puts some seasoned journalists to shame. We hope she finds time to return someday to continue as a schools correspondent.

Lynne Nittler: Lynne is a founding Board member with Cool Davis. Not only has she led the board for many years, contributed continually to the Communications Team with articles and editorial judgment over the years, in her spare time, she has led the fight to deny Valero the ability to expand its oil train facilities in Benicia with a federal clarification that is now a nationwide precedent. Way to go, Lynne! Super impressive. Her passion is unrelenting.

Marsha Baird: Marsha gets the details done as our Database Coordinator. With her calm persistence, we are figuring out how this system works and how we can make it work better!

Prescott Williams: As a retired Technical Editor, Prescott juggles volunteering with his HOA and with Cool Davis but has found ways to apply his organizing skills to some tasks that have contributed to a successful evaluation of our web page and to getting our partner’s page in shape.

Mengmeng Fang: I once heard a story of a worker whose boss said they were like a “Swiss Army knife” because they could do so much. I thought it sounded a bit . . . well sharp . . . but Mengmeng has so many skills that help us here at Cool Davis, it seems apt. Actually, it’s hard to count the ways she’s contibuted.  She has created memes and materials for our solar campaign, given feedback on planning, researched social media strategies, and added a cool new social media plug-in to our web page. We looked goofy together as El Rayito during Neighbor’s Night Out. Mengmeng is on her way to a full time career but we hope she can continue to contribute even if she has to move out of the region. Either way, she’ll be in California, and that ain’t bad!

Volunteer Yvonne Hunter
Volunteer Yvonne Hunter in Morocco 2016.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

If you are looking for a cohesive team that works every day (or a few hours a month) to make Davis a better place to live, Cool Davis and our Communications Team is looking for more volunteers like these to help us up our gratitude quotient and improve everyone’s karma. Give me a buzz at