Vince Golder has taken his appreciation for the environment to a national level.

Golder, a third-grader at Bay View Elementary School, has been named a finalist in Scottie's "Trees Rock" video contest. Students who entered the contest were required to create a video up to 3 minutes long on the importance of trees to themselves, their schools and their communities. Voters across the country can watch the top videos and vote for their favorite young tree lover through Feb. 15 on www.scottiestreesrock.com. The winner will receive $5,000, a trip to the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park and an electronic tablet. Additionally, his or her school will receive $10,000 to use toward a sustainable project, such as tree plantings, outdoor classrooms, playgrounds, athletic fields, gardens or greenhouses.

Golder was among 12 finalists selected because of the clarity of his message and his creativity.

"I gave my dad ideas about what to film, I read about trees in books and National Geographic," Golder said. "I have not seen the other videos, but we worked really hard, I skipped hanging out with my friends to work on the movie, plus my school really does need more trees! I don't have a clue what happened to the trees that were in the empty dirt spots at my school but we could use them for shade and learning, or food if they have fruit."

A golden achievement

Surf City Girl Scout Troop 11004 is honored to announce that Alex Scott has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest recognition for achievement in girl scouting.

For her Gold Award project, Scott, 18, built a round pen for training foals at Pregnant Mare Rescue in Watsonville for her Gold Award project. She received her Gold Award at a Jan. 4 grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony at the rescue, attended by family, friends, fellow troop members, Pregnant Mare Rescue volunteers, as well as the following dignitaries: Dana Bolotin, Girl Scouts California Central Coast; Jennifer Dodd, Girl Scouts California Central Coast; Rose Ann Woolpert, Graniterock; Keith Severson, Graniterock; Lowell Hurst, Watsonville City Council; Duf Fischer, Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce; and Jordi Wiseman, Girl Scout Troop 11004.

Scott was a Girl Scout member of Surf City Troop 11004 for 11 years, and was supported in her Gold Award effort by troop co-leader Chris Knudsen and her project adviser, Lynn Hummer of Pregnant Mare Rescue. She began the project in July 2011 and completed it in August 2012.

Pregnant Mare Rescue is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing abandoned horses and giving them a chance at a new life. The rescue can only accommodate six horses at a time, and is always looking to ready the new foals for adoption. Scott completed the round pen project to create an enclosure to help train the horses for adoption. People have to give up their horses for a variety of reasons, and if there's nowhere for the horses to go, they can end up at a slaughterhouse.

"Only places like Pregnant Mare Rescue can save the horses from these horrible places"...and by ensuring all the horses at the rescue are ready for adoption, we make sure they never have to fear slaughterhouses again," Scott stated. "Horse rescues all over the country are fighting to stop the sale of perfectly sound horses to slaughterhouses and feedlots, and Pregnant Mare Rescue is proud to be a part of that movement."

The round pen project was made possible by the support and donations of materials, services, volunteer time and money of Graniterock, Mike Kindscher of Morning Sun Ranch, Pat and Natalie Morrissey of Level 10 Construction, Alex Derrick, Lynn Hummer, Vaughn Marie, and numerous Pregnant Mare Rescue volunteers.

"Through the Round Pen project, I learned how to reach out to my community and work with others to overcome obstacles and solve problems," Scott stated. "I believe that in the future I will be able to more efficiently communicate with others and also be able to face whatever challenges a project will give me, because I know I now have the skills and experience to work with volunteers and members of the community to make the world a better place."

Scott is the daughter of Matt and Kirsti Scott of Aptos. She graduated from York School in Monterey and is now a freshman at Stanford University, where she is taking courses in animal behavior and physiology, history and art. She rides on the Stanford Equestrian Team.

A well-earned title

Congratulations to Dr. Ruth Bar-Shalom, who recently received certification and became a Diplomat of the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine.

Bar-Shalom is the founder and medical director of the Holistic Medical Center in Santa Cruz.

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