Fresno, CA March 1, 2021 — The US Green Building Council Central California (USGBC-CC) has received a grant from the San Joaquin River Conservancy (Conservancy)to start the planning and design process to enable public access and create an Indigenous and Environmental Resource Center at the Circle V property located at the San Joaquin River, just outside of Fresno in Madera County. USGBC-CC received final approval for this grant funding as part of the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Fund (Proposition 40) and the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Fund of 2006 (Proposition 84) from the Wildlife Conservation Board, which manages the Conservancy’s grant funds.
USGBC-CC in collaboration with the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS), will be leading the public outreach process to adaptively reuse two buildings that are connected to a beautiful riparian and oak woodland along the river. AICLS will reach out to local tribes as tribal liaison for the project.
This project will include educational opportunities for local Fresno State students by integrating different student learning opportunities and classes including Engineering, Construction Management, Interactive Multimedia and Business. The goal is to achieve LEED certification and create an innovative demonstration project for green buildings in our region.
“Since 2007, our organization has been working to bring together professionals to learn from and inspire each other to build green buildings. We are excited to start the process to develop a green building to help provide hands-on learning opportunities and educate the wider community on the details and benefits of green buildings’, says Laura Gromis, Executive Director of USGBC-CC. “Working with the local tribes, we are excited to connect the ancient values of sustainability of indigenous cultures with modern ways to create a sustainable built environment”, she adds.
“This is a unique opportunity to provide indigenous language education resources while creating a center reflective of the local tribal stakeholders and increasing awareness of the indigenous languages and cultures along the river,” says Carly Tex, Executive Director of AICLS, “We are looking forward to working with USGBC-CC and to further our mission to support California Indigenous languages and cultures through this education project.”
John Shelton, Executive Director of the San Joaquin River Conservancy adds: “We are extremely excited to work with USGBC-CC, AICLS, and Fresno State on this project. The San Joaquin River Parkway is a great resource that has significant value to all the communities of our region. In acknowledgment of the San Joaquin River’s importance to our region’s Native Americans, this project provides what I hope is the first of many opportunities for indigenous voices to be part of the team from the envisioning to the operations.”
About USGBC Central California
The US Green Building Council Central California is a 501c3 nonprofit organization located in Fresno, CA with the mission to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. USGBC-CC is focused on education, networking, and advocacy to advance its mission and is a partner of the City of Fresno in its Transform Fresno project focused on creating transformative climate communities.
About Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival
The Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival is an all-Native run and led non-profit organization with the mission to foster the restoration and revival of indigenous California languages so they may be retained as a permanent part of the living cultures of native California. We do this through advocacy, education, and training of speakers and learning, identifying and using indigenous languages resource materials, implementation of linguistic information and tools, creating learning program models and language restoration materials, maintaining master and apprentice language teams and using modern technology for language documentation and restoration.
About San Joaquin River Conservancy
The San Joaquin River Conservancy was created by the California Legislature in 1992 to develop and manage the San Joaquin River Parkway, a planned 22-mile natural area and wildlife corridor extending from Friant Dam to State Route 99, with interconnected trails, recreation, and outdoor education features. The Conservancy is committed to protecting the river’s environmental, wildlife, cultural, scientific, agricultural, educational, recreational, scenic, and flood conveyance resources, which are of regional and statewide significance.