Photo: Jen Hale

Together we can do more

You're invited to a regional conversation.

Upcoming Gathering


  • This event is now SOLD OUT. If you won’t be able to attend please release your registration or contact [email protected]. That way someone on the wait list will be able to attend. We hope to see you at our upcoming events (January, March, and the annual conference on May 11) soon!
  • *We’ve added 30 minutes on to the program to set aside more time for Q&A. Keep reading for details as well as on the rescheduled original land conservation model Gathering.

Our thoughts are with the community. Thank you for all that you do.


Gathering Together: A Community Discussion on the Impacts of the Recent Wildfires

The devastating wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and neighboring counties have irrevocably affected the lives of so many people as well as the lands we work so hard to care for. In light of these tragic events, on Thursday, November 16, 2017 the Bay Area Open Space Council is hosting a discussion on the fires between impacted fire ecologists, land managers who have been responding to and monitoring the fires effects on lands they manage, those who have been working with agencies like CalFire to respond to the fires, and community members.

Join us at our Gathering on Thursday, November 16, 2017 to hear from speakers whose lands were affected by wildfires. They will reflect upon what they’ve experienced, how they’ve responded, what they’ve learned, and their process moving forward to steward, rebuild, and restore their lives and lands. We encourage anyone and everyone from across the region who wants to listen, share, or simply be together during this time of rebuilding to join us at this Gathering. Please share this event with any of your colleagues who might like to attend.

  • We are waiving the $30 Gathering fee to make this convening accessible to as many people as possible.


Our confirmed panelists are:

  • Victoria Schlesinger, Moderator, Editor in Chief, Bay Nature
  • David Shew, Staff Chief: Planning & Risk Analysis, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Cal Fire
  • Sasha Berleman, Fire Ecologist, Audubon Canyon Ranch
  • Sheri Emerson and/or Bill Keene, Stewardship Program Manager & General Manager, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District
  • Crystal Simons, Conservation Easement Program Manager, Sonoma Land Trust
  • Mike Palladini, Stewardship Program Manager, Land Trust of Napa County
  • Melanie Parker, Deputy Director, Sonoma County Regional Parks
  • Cyndy Shafer, Natural Resource Program Manager, California State Parks – Bay Area District
  • Lisa Micheli, President and CEO, Pepperwood Foundation
  • Robert Doyle, General Manager, East Bay Regional Park District 
  • Watch this page and subscribe to our newsletter via to receive updates as we confirm additional speakers for this revised Gathering. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well as we post most frequently there.


Time & Location Updated on 11/13: Program has been extended to provide additional time for Q&A with the audience.

  • David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley.
  • 9:30am-10:00am: Doors open at 9:30am. Coffee & tea served until 10am.
  • 10:00am-12:30pm: Program starts at 10am. End time now pushed back until 12:30pm to allow for a longer Q&A with the audience.
  • 12:30-1:30pm: Lunch now served a half hour later.


We’ll be using #OSCFires to talk about what’s being shared during the event on social.

Register now


*The original land conservation model Gathering will be rescheduled at a future date. To receive updates on the new Gathering date subscribe to our newsletter mentioned above. For more information contact [email protected]



This event is possible with the generous support of the following sponsors:



Open Space Conference


Since 1999 the Open Space Council has convened an annual conference in the spring. Each is unique with a new theme and a diverse set of speakers.

The Open Space Conference is the place to lift our heads up from the day-to-day and look at the big picture, with with colleagues from around the Bay Area. It is where we can discover potential partners, and reconnect with our collaborators, who share our goals and values.  Attendees include funders, donors, policy makers, Executive Directors, General Managers, communications leaders, land managers, park builders, and more – a who’s who in parks, resources management, and land conservation.

Together, we will discover new ways to adapt to changing populations, climates, and funding realities; it is the place to be inspired, to learn, and to grow.

Learn more and join us.

Past Gatherings


Four times a year the Open Space Council convenes a Gathering about a topic relevant to land conservation in the Bay Area. 120-130 people attend from around the region to hear speakers, get information, and talk with colleagues. Ideas are shared, partnerships are born, and the community gets stronger.

Topics have included:

  • Status of California State Parks
  • Lessons learned from conservation ballot measures
  • Affordable housing and parks
  • Interactive web-based maps and mobile apps
  • Grazing and conservation
  • Water districts and conservation


Speakers have included:

  • Rue Mapp, Outdoor Afro
  • Peter Birch, Google Maps
  • Mary Ruckelshaus, Natural Capital Institute
  • Sergio Jimenez, San Jose Parks and Recreation Commission


See the topics, speakers, presentations, and photos from the past 6 years of Gatherings.

From the blog