Letter writers who visited our table at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary were eager on Saturday, chatty and encouraging.
Volunteers from our ad hoc band of parents and community activists had set up a table under the mighty oaks adjacent the Tucker’s recently refurbished interpretive center, all of this remarkable and thoughtful improvement coordinated by the amazing Marcella. We were stationed next to a nifty outfit called Wild Birds Unlimited, displaying all manner of bird watching accoutrements. They run a store in Mission Viejo and are the smartest fellas you want to meet when it comes to attracting songbirds to your property.
And, attracted like birds to suet and sunflower seeds to the lovely schoolhouse model on display, visitors to this First Annual Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary Spring Bird Fair and Art Show flocked around our little table. Impressive indeed was how eager they seemed to do their modest part toward saving our school. More remarkable was how many people, even locals from Modjeska and Silverado, did not even know that the OUSD school board had voted to close the school, voting on its shuttering as a line item a few weeks ago.
This is, of course, why we were here in beautiful Modjeska Canyon on a sunny and clear spring morning: to do the work which local media might have, were there any left. Alas, the Register has reported on our situation intermittently and only online. And the LA Times, teetering it seems on the edge of closure (how can the paper get any smaller?) hasn’t even mentioned us. Where's Dana Parsons when you need him? The Sentry, god bless ‘em, is a monthly paper. So, indeed, how is anybody gonna even know what the OUSD Board of Trustees does - or any board for that matter?
This is, as we remind our son, a lesson in democracy. The letters, the organizing, Thursday evenings spent in meetings rather than at home. Democracy is noisy and time-consuming and requires us to pay attention and to engage.
We would love it if the weekly KPCC (89.3 FM, public radio) Orange County roundtable reporters who meet to talk about our county would mention the closure, but understand that there are a lot of journalistic fish to fry. But the failure of a board to keep open a vital and historic school seems to us here at Save Silverado the kind of story you’d want to talk about.
Anyway, when we briefed the birdwatchers, birdlovers, canyon visitors and ecophiles visiting the displays, artist booths and listening to live music of what was up with our kids call "the down school,” you couldn’t keep these good citizens from signing their names to the pre-printed letters we offered and including their addresses. And, even though we offered to pay the postage ourselves, these good folks left us $28.75 in the donations jar.
So, yes, people in and out of the canyons, parents and non-parents and grandparents and people who had parents care about the closure of Silverado Elementary and want to share their support for our efforts and do their bit to ask the board to reconsider.
We need folks who are willing to circulate letters at upcoming events this weekend - let us know and we'll give you a few.