Speaker Stephen Pree, El Cerrito Environmental Programs Manager and City Arborist

President Frank welcomed everyone to the friendly El Cerrito Rotary Club, the flag salute was led by Gary B and the thought for the day was provided by Frank.

Introduction of Visiting Rotarians and Guests:

Interact members Josh Ko, Elia Chuaqui and Kenyatta Marceleous. Rotarian Dene Kinball from Springfield, Mass,  Nicole Jones with the El Cerrito Patch, Rebecca Kates guest of Tracy and her acupuncturist.  Visiting Rotarian Fred Collignon of Berkeley.


  • Pres Frank sent around a visitation list for those who can go visit Ilhami.
  • The District Gov visit has been postponed for Feb 27th from next Week  Not change on speaking schedule
  • Rotarian Fred Collignon has been chosen for District Governor in 2016-17

Happy Dollars:

Nancy is happy about her new iPad and told us the story of it being purchased.  Mark is happy about the Supermixer held by the West County Chambers, Jack is also happy about that as he did some membership prospecting at the event.  Sal is happy he found a $ to contribute.  Aroon is happy about the supermixer and having a booth at the event.  Don is happy about the Interact President and two others being here today.  Gary is $20 happy about a phone call he received from a long time friend with great news about his wife on the list to get a liver transplant.  Sonya is happy about the supermixer and how many El Cerrito Chamber members were there.  Allen is happy about taking his raft out into the bay and also about Michael being such a good treasurer.  Tracy is happy about the state grant for 50K that was awarded to the performing arts program at ECHS.  Visiting Rotarian Dene Kimball is happy to meet the Interact members as his grandsons attend the school. Turns out that Josh and Dene’s grandson are both in the ECHS band.  Visiting Rotarian Fred is happy about having a great Christmas with his family.

Special Presentation:

Interact President Elia made the presentation soliciting a sponsorship from the Rotary for the annual Black and White dance.  Elia – Good presentation – Good result.

Today’s Program:

Karen introduced Stephen Pree, El Cerrito City Arborist along with Sonali Shah for a presentation focused on a new program which is being considered for El Cerrito entitled “Investing from the ground up campaign.”  Stephen gave us some background on how he became involved and employed as the city arborist. Stephen is a certified arborist who has that title as part of a overall responsibility as Environmental Programs Manager.  We heard a lot of great information about trees and their importance and how there is a need for a better overall understanding of trees, their role in the city’s value and the great need for trees to be better cared for and understood.  It turns out that a large number of trees are pruned improperly which causes damage and sometimes kills them.

Stephen then shifted into outlining a project/program that is underway which is the “Invest from the ground up campaign.”  The project is currently underway in five cities in Calif ranging from North Hollywood, Santee to Albany.  Sonali took the mic and explained how this program works and that the purpose of the presentation today was to make us aware of the program and to solicit involvement from organizations for an event here in El Cerrito.  After the presentation there were many questions and we will be made aware of the next steps in the project in case we want to send a representative to the informational event at the city.

Thank you Karen for having Stephen and Sonali make the presentation to us.

Today’s Lottery Winners:

Mark S won the bottle of wine.  Michael had his ticket pulled for the marble game and selected a catseye marble.   Next week the pot will be $115.

Thought for the Week

In everything the ends well defined are the secret of durable success.
–Victor Cousins