Naturally, there will be Sonoma County connections to a May 23 groundbreaking in Berkeley for a $29 million environmental center honoring the late David Brower.

Brower, who founded Friends of the Earth and as director of the Sierra Club swelled its membership from 2,000 to 77,000, cherished his Sonoma County roots. His mother’s kin, the Barlows, started farming near Petaluma in 1864.

Among the Browers who’ll gather at the site of the David Brower Center ( is Santa Rosa’s Joe Brower, 86.

Joe flew as an airline navigator for 35 years and was proud all the while that his dogged older brother was down below, defending the Earth.