History

Sonoma Garden Park is a 6.1-acre working model of sustainable agriculture

A project of Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma Garden Park provides a beautiful, natural environment with educational opportunities for both adults and children. The property was a gift from Pauline Bond, schoolteacher and a gardener, to the City of Sonoma. Sonoma Ecology Center has developed the property to Sonoma Garden Park, and maintains it to promote sustainable garden & farming practices in the community.

Over the years, the property has transformed a great deal. Read up here about some key milestones:

1994 – The Straw Bale Barn

Bruce Maxwell, a Sonoma Ecology Center volunteer designed and supervised construction of the straw bale barn. The barn was built almost entirely from donated materials, including the roof trusses which were provided by All Truss, a local truss maker. The barn was built over the course of numerous volunteer workdays. These included workshops for straw bale construction, which covered different phases: foundation pouring, straw bale wall installation, roof installation, stucco application, and clay floor installation. All is original, except the clay floor, which was replaced around 2012. The redwood doors and redwood siding was salvaged from the Dolcini family barn that used to be where Adele Harrison Middle school was built.

2007-2009 – Children’s Discovery Trail

This project was funded by Whitney and Janet Evans, local philanthropists who wanted to bring some of the joy of gardens they shared with their children to Sonoma. The Children’s Discovery Trail currently consists of three locations and interactive panels meant to inspire and education children and adults about butterflies, birds and honey bees.

We look forward to expanding this visionary project around Sonoma Garden Park.

2012 – The Nursery

The initial shade structure was designed by Mark Newhouser and built with salvage decking with volunteer labor in 2008. The state-of-the-art greenhouse that now grows most of the plants for Sonoma Ecology Center’s restoration work, was funded by numerous sources, including Sonoma Rotary, SCAPOSD, MGP, nursery funds, Americorps labor, Audiss Electric, Boden Plumbing, Berger concrete, Impact 100, and City of Sonoma.  It was built mostly by volunteers over 3 years and finished in 2012.

2012 – Establishment of a Conservation Easement (CE)

The CE, established through SCAPOS protects the land and provides exclusions from certain types of development on the land, in perpetuity. Land must be maintained as publicly-accessible open space for recreation, agriculture, and habitat conservation purposes. The CE established eligibility for Sonoma Garden Park to receive funding through the MGP administered by the OSD, which funded two phases of infrastructure development.  Among those are completing the ADA pathway network, new signs, drinking water fountains, oak woodland restoration and native plant nursery garden.

2015 – ADA Pathway Network Complete

The City of Sonoma funded the first pathway made out of Terrapave in 2007. The replacement pathway, which utilized much of the old pathway as a foundation was completed with funding by the SCAPOSD MGP. ADA pathways mean our park is a place everyone can enjoy.

2015-Low Impact Development (LID) Installation

Sonoma County Water Agency funded this project. The purpose is to provide a demonstration of LID infrastructure that manages storm water runoff so that it stays on the land, infiltrates and recharges groundwater. With these installations in place, water filters through vegetation and gravel to remove sediment and chemical pollutants before they enter streams and waterbodies. Manageed storm water can also be stored and utilized for landowner uses. The project is intended to inspire landowners to adopt these practices and to provide simple, economical LID features that landowners can build or easily retrofit themselves.