Dick Miner, who for years has removed non-native growth from and helped his elderly neighbors maintain their home gardens, has won a Green Award.
The award will be presented tonight at the San Anselmo Town Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.
The Quality of Life Commission voted unanimously at a recent meeting to give the award to Miner, who’s also been the composting point-person for the Alcatraz Historic Gardens Project.
Miner’s been working at Sorich “four or five years, doing whatever’s needed — weed-whacking, weed-pulling and protective-cage repair to keep the deer away.”
And he started assisting his neighbors, who are in their late 80s and early 90s, simply “because they can’t do it anymore.”
In the process, he gets “to play in their gardens and grow vegetables in the summer. Everybody benefits.”
At the island prison, meanwhile, he’s become a docent and, he adds, “the CCO, Chief Composting Officer, particularly proud that my Alcatraz compost won ‘best in show’ at the Marin County Fair. Now, when I give my tour of the gardens twice a week, I always have my ribbons hanging over my compost bins.”
Miner particularly enjoys leading tours for youth groups, “kids who are learning about environmental responsibility.”
All told, he says, his volunteer Alcatraz shifts have “been amazing. I’ve exchanged e-mail addresses with people from all over the world who have similar interests in the environment.”
But restoration of the gardens, he notes, is a “labor of love that I’m pretty passionate about.”
In truth, he tends to spread his passions around.
Once a week, for example, Miner spends time on a restoration project at the Western Hills Nursery in Occidental, where an overgrown three-acre specimen garden needs attention.
His aim? Get it back into shape “so it can be a public garden again.”
The 70-year-old’s interest in the environment began long ago. “I’m a scientist, a biologist, and did research for 40 years at UCSF. I always had my own garden and composting and sustainable gardening, but when I retired, I started doing a lot of volunteer work.”
Miner, who’s lived in San Anselmo 38 years, is enthusiastic about all his volunteerism.
Those activities include a five-year tenure on the town’s Historical Commission. Currently, he’s a docent for its museum, and single-handedly conducts an oral history program (he loves finding “old-timers who wants to share their stories,” and says he always comes away stimulated, having learned something).
His unpaid efforts also meant a seven-year stint as a San Anselmo girls’ softball coach, during which “I always learned from the kids.”
He also regularly hosts Bread & Roses’ musical benefits in jails and senior facilities.
Minor, who insists he’s “been privileged” to do the work he does, will become the 17th winner of the environmentally based Green Award, which is aimed at unsung heroes.
Earlier citations were given Conn Rusche, Charles Kennard, the team of Steve Reinertsen and Scott Weeks, Sita Khufu, Rohana McLaughlin, Joyce Brown, Larry Nilsen, Matt Eakle, Ted Bakkila, Christine Dietrich Cragg, Bob Mellin, H.G. Von Dallwitz, Denali Gillaspie, Jonathan Braun, Dan Goltz and the husband-wife team of Janet Byrum and Bob Fleming.
Green and the broader Silver Awards are handed out in alternate months. Nominations for either can be emailed to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org — or mailed or hand-delivered to the Quality of Life Commission c/o the Town of San Anselmo, 525 San Anselmo Ave.