Glaciers are receding at alarming rates. Polar ice caps are melting and deserts are expanding thanks to global warming and climate change. While I have no scientific training, I am concerned for our environment and our planet. If I had my way, every day would be Earth Day and everyone would be stewards of our land and sea.

I recently had the opportunity to review BBC Earth's "AFRICA Eye to Eye with the Unknown," a three-disc DVD set to be released Feb. 26. Not only was I enthralled with the amazing footage from this television series, I was struck by the vulnerability of the animals of Africa. From the black rhino being hunted for its horns, to the Silverback gorillas competing with humans for living space, Narrator David Attenborough draws us into the circle of life in Africa, sharing its natural beauty and stark reality.

Stewards of the land

What does it mean to be a steward of the land? On a recent visit to Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley, I witnessed firsthand how nature's bounty rewards us with tasty gifts. Hunter Lowder and her husband Nick Elliott are the owners of Holman Ranch. While the historic property excels in celebrations, weddings, retreats and such, I see the owners as stewards of the 392-acre ranch land.

The husband-and-wife team maintain vineyards on the property for making Holman Ranch wines. They produce estate grown olive oil from the olive trees on the ranch and will soon be bottling small-batch vinegar. They also lease their land to a cattle rancher for grazing privileges and board horses on the property.


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While the return on investment is not as high on a 10-guest-room property as it would be on a housing subdivision in Carmel Valley, I'm glad that Holman Ranch appreciates the value of stewardship.

If you find yourself in Carmel Valley on Sunday, April 28, join in the "Spring Celebration" from 1 to 5 p.m. at Carmel Valley's East End, featuring the tasting rooms of Chesebro Wines, Cima Collina, Dawn's Dream Winery, Holman Ranch, Joyce Vineyards and Parsonage Family Winery. The Tasting Rooms, all located at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley Village, will join together to present a celebration of food, wine, cooking demos and garden tips. The cost is $35 per person with $5 per ticket sales going to VOICES of Monterey County.

Mendocino Coast Audubon Sanctuary

What do bats have in common with golf courses? Fifth generation innkeeper Cally Dym of the Little River Inn shared with me that their nine-hole golf course, the only course on the Mendocino coast, is an Audubon-certified sanctuary. Little River Inn is one of the few golf courses in California to receive this honor.

They installed an osprey nest platform, bat houses to control bugs, owl nest boxes to help reduce rodents and created wildlife habitat, and naturalized corridors linking the golf course to undeveloped property and Van Damme State Park.

Continuing with the stewards of the land theme, join cheese makers in Petaluma, March 22-24, 2013, for the California Artisan Cheese Festival. Celebrity chefs, educators, cheese mongers, farmers and four-legged friends will be on hand for this tasty celebration.

Where have your travels taken you? Send an e-mail to NancyBrownConsulting@comcast.net. For insider travel tips visit Nancy's blog at www.nancydbrown.com

ONLINE RESOURCES

BBC America Shop -- www.bbcamericashop.com/dvd/africa-17146.html
California Artisan Cheese Festival -- http://artisancheesefestival.com
Holman Ranch -- www.holmanranch.com
Little River Inn -- www.littleriverinn.com