Shoreline festival honors nature’s beauty, relevance


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Scout master Fred Stevens helps a mother hold her daughter as she walks across an obstacle course set up by the Boy Scouts of America at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival in Point Pinole on Saturday.

By Jose Arebola, Staff Writer

POINT PINOLE ­— Free food and a festive atmosphere marked a celebration of the environment and Bay Area climate justice on the shores of Point Pinole Saturday.
The North Richmond Shoreline Festival is an event sponsored by the North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance (NRSOSA) which has been held annually for 15 years to celebrate the local ecosystem, which sits at the base of the San Pablo Bay. It also strives to raise public awareness about the importance of active preservation.
“The goal of this festival is to raise awareness and create ownership of this space with the community,” Lana Martarella, who organized the event for the NRSOSA, said.
“As I have told my students for many years, this is our land and our shoreline. We need to be involved not only for the present but for the future.”
The alliance, along with the efforts of the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD), held the event bringing children and adults to the park with activities for the entire family.
Pony rides, board games and live gospel music were among some of the attractions that were available to attendees.
A small electric train drove children from the entrance of the park to the main stage area and back while those families in attendance waited their turn to grab a free meal given out by Mario’s Catering, a local catering vendor.
All booths organized for the event were from local businesses that emphasize the environment in West Contra Costa County, informing locals of the need to be continually active in the fight against a negative environmental footprint.
Different local groups, such as the Contra Costa County Library Group and supporters of Measure FF with East Bay Regional Parks District workers, set up canopies and spoke to locals in the park offering information on the different services at local parks.
This year a ceremony to celebrate two local men who impacted climate justice in the Richmond area, Henry Clark and Whitney Dotson, was also included.
When they received their plaques, both men spoke words encouraging the public to continue their goals of preserving the shoreline for the present and for posterity.
“This is the 15th year the festival has been going on and we know we have had a long battle up to this point, but we know time is with us because as some say, ‘You cannot stop an idea that has already come to be’,” Clark said.
“This just didn’t happen over night. So to all the young people here, don’t throw in the towel on your dreams — especially if it is for a just cause.”
Understanding the significance of the area and its impact in the continued fight for climate justice, is a fact that was not understated by the climate warriors.
“God gave us the environment to protect and restore,” Dotson said. “This shoreline has one of the greatest views in, not just the Bay Area, but the world.”
“Climate justice and its roots have a history here in North Richmond,” Clark said. “And if it weren’t for the efforts of those in this area, much of the progress the environmental movement in California has seen would be non-existent.”
Both men were instrumental in securing environmental wins for residents of Richmond, specifically the North Richmond and Parchester Village areas.
Clark’s impact on the community came in the form of the $1 billion Chevron Richmond Refinery Modernization project which outlined updates needed for the refinery.
Improvements included a solar farm and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the area.
Dotson and his father fought for the preservation of the marsh area around Parchester Village and helped establish the fight to preserve the area which is now Point Pinole Regional Park.
Martarella said, “These men are local influences who we can use as examples for the local fight for climate justice in our area.
“Their examples help us personalize it (environmental issues) and make them our fight as well.”