The challenges and opportunities of today and tomorrow require us to think across lines – political, geographic, organizational, generational and others – and form partnerships to create innovative solutions. Whatever lies ahead, we can break down the typical boundaries and work together to achieve more. The 14th annual Open Space Conference was held on May 16, 2013 in San Francisco’s Presidio and we addressed the following questions:
- How can we create collective impact?
- What are examples of multi-faceted problems that are being solved in collaborative ways?
- How can we work together as a region to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead?
Learn more about the conference:
Photos from 2013 Open Space Conference:
Select presentations and videos are available below.
9:00am – Welcome
Andrea Mackenzie, Chair, Bay Area Open Space Council and General Manager, Santa Clara County Open Space Authority
Opportunities and Challenges, Ideas and Possibilities
Steve Abbors, General Manager, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
Launching the Mutsun Land Trust and a Blessing
Val Lopez, Chairman, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
Animals that Saw Me and Other Perspecties
Ed Panar, photographer and author, Animals that Saw Me
Maintaining and Restoring Critical Wildlife Corridors in the Bay Area
Mary Ellen Hannibal, author of The Spine of the Continent;
Wendy Eliot, Conservation Director, Sonoma Land Trust;
Kirk Lenington, Natural Resources Director, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District; and
Kristeen Penrod, Executive Director, SC Wildlands
The Power of Trees in the Urban Landscape
Kemba Shakur, Executive Director, Urban Releaf
Connecting Communities of Faith with the Challenges (and Opportunities) of Climate Change
Reverend Canon Sally Bingham, founder, Interfaith Power and Light
12:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm – Working Together for Our State Parks
Retired Major General Anthony Jackson, Director, California State Parks
Collaborating on Common Goals with Healthy Parks, Healthy People
Dr. Nooshin Razani, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland and
Dr. Curtis Chan, San Francisco Department of Public Health
An Economic Approach to Natural Resources
David Batker, Executive Director, Earth Economics
Ranching with Partnerships, Grazing for Change
Gareth Fisher, Business Development Manager, BN Ranch
Recreation and the Future of the Conservation Movement
Brady Robinson, Executive Director, Access Fund
Breaking Boundaries, Working Together
Linda Dahl, Director and General Manager, Marin County Parks
4:30pm – Wine reception
5:00pm – Homeward Bound
We are grateful for the time, expertise, and energy of the following speakers who joined us.
Top row: Mary Ellen Hannibal, Rev. Sally Bingham, Dr. Curtis Chan, Dr. Nooshin Razani, Ret. Major General
Middle row: Kemba Shakur, Brady Robinson, Ed Panar, Kristeen Penrod, Linda Dahl.
Bottom row: Wendy Eliot, Kirk Lenington, Andrea Mackenzie, Valentin Lopez, David Batker.
David Batker, Chief Economist and Executive Director at Earth Economics, completed his graduate training in economics under Herman Daly, one of the world’s foremost ecological economists. Dave has taught in the Training Department of the World Bank, and has worked for Greenpeace International, specializing in trade and international finance. He also worked for two years with the Rural Reconstruction Movement, a Philippine non-profit group dedicated to ecologically sound community-based development. His work with the Earth Economics team includes measuring the value of wetlands for hurricane buffering, developing new US account rules for water provisioned from ecosystems, counting natural capital as flood protections infrastructure in US flood planning, halting the export of hazardous wastes from rich to poor countries, expanding Mount Rainier National Park, advising the US government on greening 436,000 federal buildings, developing a practical web-based tool for valuing nature’s benefits, setting up funding mechanisms for parks; conservation and restoration; identifying, valuing, mapping, and modeling ecosystem services. He has worked in over 40 countries and throughout the US.
Dave is co-author, with John de Graaf, of the book, “What’s the Economy for Anyway?” which has ranked in the top ten economics and business books by he New York Book Review.
The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham
Sally has brought widespread attention to the link between religious faith and the environment through her work as the founder of The Regeneration Project and the Interfaith Power & Light campaign. As one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a core moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship. Sally serves as Canon for the Environment in the Episcopal Diocese of California and is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, published by St. Lynn’s Press in 2009. In 2012, Sally was awarded the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award for her environmental leadership.
Curtis Chan, MD, MPH
Dr. Curtis Chan serves as Medical Director of Maternal, Child & Adolescent Health for the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He completed his medical degree, pediatrics residency, preventive medicine residency, and community health fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He has served as attending pediatrician at UCSF, San Francisco General Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, and San Mateo Medical Center, and Assistant County Health Officer in San Mateo County. He has worked closely with local governmental and non-profit agencies to promote health within parks and open space. He is engaged in many community health promotion activities, including lengthy service on the Board of Directors for Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth and the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco. Curtis has received numerous local and national awards, including the American Academy of Pediatrics Anne E. Dyson Award for Child Advocacy and the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Innovations in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. He lives in Pacifica with his wife and their children, where they enjoy the mountains, trees, and ocean.
Linda Dahl is the Director and General Manager of Marin County Parks and the Marin County Open Space District. Relatively new in this position, she retired as the Chief of Planning at Yosemite National Park. During her 19 years in the National Park Service, she worked for over 25 parks throughout the country, including the Everglades restoration project in Florida’s 16 southernmost counties. Her focus has been conflict resolution, especially related to protecting beautiful and fragile natural lands while accommodating the many people of diverse abilities and preferences who want to recreate and/or make a living on them. In her civic life, Linda has served on county open space and planning commissions, and was co-founder of the Mountain Area Land Trust in Colorado. She has a BS in city and regional planning, and has done graduate work in environmental science and public policy.
Wendy Eliot is Sonoma Land Trust’s Conservation Director, where, for the past 12 years, she has led conservation planning, land acquisition projects, and secured funds to carry out SLT’s conservation agenda. She led the successful effort to acquire and protect over 4,000 acres of conservation land in the Sonoma Baylands and Sonoma Mountain, part of a larger effort to ensure connectivity in the Sonoma Creek and Petaluma River watersheds. Wendy is on the board of the Bay Area Open Space Council and is an Associate Director of the Sotoyome and Southern Sonoma Resource Conservation District. Wendy holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and a M.L.A. in Environmental Planning from U.C. Berkeley and has been working in land conservation for 25 years, including developing conservation plans and protecting land at the California State Coastal Conservancy, Washington Department of Ecology, and the Capitol Land Trust in Olympia, Washington.
Gareth’s primary work is with BN Ranch, the pasture-based meat company founded by Bolinas-based ranchers Bill & Nicolette Niman, where he manages business development and is involved in every aspect of producing, processing, marketing, and distributing seasonally-harvested grass finished beef and heritage breed turkeys. The first generation of his family in some time to pursue the business of agriculture, Gareth grazes cattle in the East Bay hills and recently earned a master’s in range management from UC Berkeley. His studies brought him to the field collecting data for grassland studies around the Bay Area and southern California, surveying landowner decision making for critical bird habitat in the Sierra Foothills, and studying partnerships between public landowners and the ranchers to whom they lease, particularly on the Central Coast. Having worked for a handful of large ranches between California and Nevada while going through school, he has seen first-hand the varied dynamics of public land management and the challenges involved in following a multiple-use mandate on a landscape scale.
Mary Ellen Hannibal
Mary Ellen Hannibal is a Bay Area writer and editor focusing on science and culture. The author of four books, the most recent is The Spine of the Continent, which The Sacramento Bee called out as one of four nonfiction books to read in 2012, saying it “dazzles with its subtlety.” A former book review and travel editor, Hannibal is Chair of the California Book Awards; her blog, “The Writer’s Life,” posts on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library. In 2012 she was a winner of both the National Association of Science Writers’ Science and Society Award and Stanford’s Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. She was a 2011 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow. Hannibal is a regular contributor to LIVESTRONG magazine; her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, High Country News, the San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire, Elle and Yoga Journal, among many other publications.
Major General Anthony L. Jackson
Major General Jackson is the 19th Director of California State Parks, and was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown on November 13, 2012 and sworn-in by Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird on November 16, 2012. From 1998 to 2000, Major General Jackson was Assistant Chief of Staff, G-7, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. Before his retirement from the Marine Corps in 2012, Major General Jackson served as Commanding General Marine Corps Installations West, supervising bases across California and the Southwest. Major General Jackson has a Master’s Degree in History from San Jose State University (1973). Jackson is also a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1998).
Kirk holds a degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz and completed his masters degree in biology at San Francisco State University. After studying the impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on seabirds for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked on saltmarsh wetland restoration, contaminated site cleanup, resource damage assessment, and biological studies. He joined Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in 2004 and was appointed as the Manager of the Natural Resources Department in 2012, supervising a multidisciplinary staff of biologists and resource professionals. His and his staff’s work consists of managing the District’s 62,000 acres of land with a focus on rare and endangered species management (such as California red-legged frog, steelhead trout, and marbled murrelet), restoration, contaminated site cleanup, and managing the agricultural uses on the District’s working landscapes.
Valentin Lopez is the Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, one of three historic Ohlone tribes. Valentin is Mutsun, Chumash and Yokuts. The Amah Mutsun are comprised of the documented descendants of Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz. Valentin Lopez is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Advisor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. The Amah Mutsun are currently working to have their Federal Recognition Status restored as they were illegally terminated by the federal government in about 1929. The Amah Mutsun are very active in conservation and protection efforts within their traditional tribal territory and most recently established the Mutsun Land Trust. Valentin is working to restore the Mutsun Language and is a traditional Mutsun singer and dancer.
Andrea Mackenzie has over 25 years of experience working for agricultural and open space preservation and land conservation agencies. Andrea is the General Manager at the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. She served as Project Director to the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County for development of a Conservation Blueprint for Santa Cruz County. Andrea was the General Manager of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District from 2000-2009 and in 2006 led the successful effort to reauthorize the District’s ¼ percent sales tax by 76 percent. Andrea previously worked as an environmental planner with the East Bay Regional Park District and the City and County of San Francisco. Andrea is President of the Bay Area Open Space Council. Andrea is a past fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute in Shepherdstown , W. VA. Andrea has a B.A. in Environmental Studies from U.C. Santa Barbara and a M.A. in Urban Planning and Natural Resources from U.C.L.A.
Ed Panar is a photographer and bookmaker whose quietly quirky photographs explore the background or peripheral of the human scene. Drawing from his ever expanding archive of photographs, Panar creates groups of images that explore the uncanny nature of the objects and creatures that inhabit this seemingly familiar – yet often unseen – parallel universe. Since 2007, Ed has published numerous photobooks including: Animals That Saw Me (The Ice Plant, 2011), Salad Days (Gottlund 2011), Same Difference (Gottlund, 2010), and Golden Palms (J&L Books, 2007). His photographs and books have been published and exhibited internationally at venues including: The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, Nofound Photofair, Paris, The New York Photography Festival and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Ed currently lives and works among the forested hills and hollows of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Kristeen Penrod is the Director of Science & Collaboration for Connected Wildlands (SC Wildlands). Kristeen got her start in linkage conservation planning by coordinating California’s statewide Missing Linkages conference in November of 2000. This groundbreaking conference helped bring landscape connectivity into the forefront of conservation thinking in the state. That same year, she founded SC Wildlands. SC Wildlands has collaborated on several projects focused on connectivity conservation over the last decade, including the South Coast Missing Linkages Project, Connectivity Planning for Selected Focal Species in the Carrizo Plain, California Essential Habitat Connectivity Project, A Linkage Network for the California Deserts, and Critical Linkages: Bay Area & Beyond. Kristeen coauthored a chapter on corridors and connectivity (Beier et al. 2006) in Connectivity Conservation, Oxford University Press. She also served as an Advisor to the Western Governors Association on the Transportation Committee for the WGA Wildlife Corridors Initiative and coauthored the report to the Governors, which was approved in 2008.
Dr. Nooshin Razani
Nooshin Razani, MD, MPH is a pediatrician practicing at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. She was trained as a “Nature Champion” by the National Environmental Education Fund and Bureau of Fish and Wildlife in 2010. Since that time has worked to train clinicians in San Francisco and Oakland about the potential role of nature in human health. She is currently medical consultant to Golden Gate Institute where, in partnership with San Francisco Department of Public Health, they are piloting a Park Prescriptions program in Bayview Hunter’s Point. In Oakland, she is collaborating with environmental leaders and pediatric residents to bring nature into pediatric offices. She is dedicated to involving community members in the planning and implementation. Nooshin also is part of the interdisciplinary Children and Nature Leadership forum.
Brady Robinson is the executive director of the Access Fund, the national advocacy organization for climbers. He is also chairman of the Outdoor Alliance, whose mission is to ensure the conservation and stewardship of our nation’s land and waters through the promotion of sustainable, human-powered recreation. He is part of the recent rise of human powered recreation groups within the more traditional conservation movement and will share insights on the new ways people are connecting with nature, and what this may mean for the future of conservation. Brady is a veteran of over 20 international climbing trips, in areas such as Patagonia, Pakistan, Nepal, Peru and Thailand. He spent most of his 20s working as a guide and instructor for NOLS and North Carolina Outward Bound.
Fondly referred to as the “Tree Lady”, Kemba is the Founder and Director of Urban Releaf, an urban forestry nonprofit responsible for the planting and caring of an estimated 16,000 trees in low-income East Bay communities. Kemba has always loved trees, and cherishes childhood memories of outings with her parents to places like Big Basin. A pivotal moment in her life came in the 1990s, when Kemba moved to West Oakland and was struck by the lack of greenery. Instead of packing up and moving on, Kemba started planting trees. She founded Urban Releaf 14 years ago, guiding it to success by abiding by two key principles – creating a more beautiful community where residents take pride in where they live and offering opportunities for at-risk youth and unemployed adults to gain marketable skills. Kemba continues to advocate for the importance of trees on a local as well as national level. Currently, she is engaged in the 31 Green Street Research & Demonstration Project, an integration of tree planting, community outreach and the scientific benefits of trees as they relate to air, water, and energy.
There are lots of ways of getting information, ideas, and inspiration at the Open Space Conference. One of these ways is to talk shop with the Exhibitors:
- Bay Nature
- California Native Plant Society
- California Rangeland Trust
- California State Parks
- East Bay Regional Park District
- Environmental Science Associates (ESA)
- Erica Fielder Studio
- Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
- GreenInfo Network
- Healthy Parks, Healthy People
- Marin County Parks
- Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
- Northgate Environmental Management
- Pacific Coast Seed
- Paula Lane Action Network
- San Francisco Bay Joint Venture
- San Francisco Bay Trail Project
- Student Conservation Association
- Year of the Bay