Photo: Jen Hale

Together we can do more

You're invited to a regional conversation.

Upcoming Gathering

Gearing Up for Good Policy for Bay Area Lands in 2018

Good policy matters. But it’s not guaranteed. From climate change, to fire, rain, and drought, to rising development pressures on our natural and working lands, good policy plays a critical role in addressing our region’s most pressing land conservation issues. In 2018, there will be important opportunities at the local, county, and statewide level to secure public funding for the Bay Area at a scale that allows us to effectively respond to these challenges. But to get these much-needed resources that support the health of our regional lands that in turn support the plants, animals, and humans alike than live, work, and play here, it is no understatement to say that the future of our region relies on your voice, your vote, and your input today.

Join us at our Policy Gathering on Thursday, January 25, 2018. You will get the scoop on the latest proposed legislation, bond and funding measures, and agency programs in the upcoming year that could fund, benefit, or impact Bay Area land conservation and your work. Whether you consider yourself a policy wonk or you are brand new to policy and campaigns, the panel will offer helpful insights on how we can work together as a region to advance land conservation policy and funding. We all have something to learn about the following:

  • Policy: The latest updates on proposed legislation, policies and agency programs that could fund, benefit, or impact your work.
  • Bond Measures and Funding: The $4.1 billion statewide park and water bond measure that is slated for the June 2018 primary ballot. What this legislation means for our communities and region, why it’s important, and how the funds will be allocated.
  • Local, County, and Regional Plans: Emerging plans and programs at the local, county, and regional level that focus on issues such as climate change, agricultural conservation, fire relief, and wildlife corridors and connectivity.
  • Tax Policy: Potential impacts of the federal tax bill on conservation.
  • What’s at Play: Current political dynamics that will impact priorities and decision-making by policy makers and officials.
  • Getting Involved: Ways that our regional community can collaborate and take action.


Current speakers include:

  • Deb Callahan, Moderator, Executive Director, Bay Area Open Space Council
  • Fred Keeley, Former Speaker pro Tempore, California State Assembly, Board Member, Sempervirens Fund
  • Robert Doyle, General Manager, East Bay Regional Park District
  • Marc Landgraf, External Affairs Manager, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
  • John McCaull, Land Acquisition Program Manager, Sonoma Land Trust
  • Jay Ziegler, Director of External Affairs & Policy, The Nature Conservancy


The Gathering will be held at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley. Doors open at 9:30am. The program starts at 10am and there will be time for Q&A with the audience. Lunch will be served from 12-1pm. We’ll be using #OSCPolicy to talk about the event on social.

Register now

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