The Open Space Council Blog


Liveblogging from the Fog Gathering!

July 21, 2011


Thanks to the presenters and all who attended yesterday's Gathering!  You can find the presentations on our website here (scroll down to Past Events).  And here are some photos from the day:

Our next Gathering will be September 15 from 10am-1pm at the Log Cabin.  More information about it coming soon!  If you just know you're coming no matter what, click here to register so we get the right amount of food.


12:06am: LUNCH!

11:58am: Jeremy Madsen from Greenbelt Alliance responds to Bob's comments: "The 20th century American dream is over.  It was built on unsustainable growth and it doesn't work.  We are right now at the cusp of change.  Let's create the 21st century American dream.  It integrates society and nature.  It builds on a diverse society.  Yes, we need to think big.  We should all embrace that challenge and make it happen."

11:55am: Bob Doyle from East Bay Regional Park District shared: "We need to think big.  Think ahead of the negative curve.  It's because of this thinking that we have a greenbelt in the Bay Area.  People before us had big ideas and we're now implementing them.  What are the next big ideas?"

11:52am: Andrea Mackenzie, the Chair of the Open Space Council and General Manager of the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, says: "This has been an excellent panel.  This is so complex and fascinating.  It feels like this is a watershed moment, whether out of design or necessity.  We need to work together across the boundaries of our missions, either through the Open Space Council or other ways." 

"There are millions of dollars that have been spent on conservation in the Bay Area.  The benefits of those dollars are wide and many – we need to talk about them more and more loudly."

11:48am: Lots of hands going up in the air with questions.  We're going to wrap up in the next 10 minutes or so.  Lunch is waiting in the back of the room…

11:44am: A question from the audience: "Why are we talking about ecosystem services and biodiversity?"  Liz responds that those words are very academic and that eyes often roll or glaze over when they're mentioned.  The Nature Conservancy has done a lot of testing and focus groups about these terms and what people care about.  There is a national poll that Liz can share with the group.  TNC is all about biodiversity but they don't use those words in their communications.

Jeremy Madsen from Greenbelt Alliance responds that he tries to talk in language that can be heard.  You have to talk to people where they are.

11:36am: Erich says, "Yes, we may be preaching to the choir but we need the choir to sing a little louder."  There are some critical things taking place over the next 6-12 months with OneBayArea that we need to be heavily involved in.

11:36am: Our panel:


Erich Pfuehler, Jim Townsend, Jeremy Madsen, Liz O'Donoghue, and Laura Cohen


11:31am: A question from the audience: Could you describe the difference between a RAMP and a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)?  Liz responded that they are very similar.  RAMPs are a way of bringing new groups to the table, i.e., transportation agencies.  (to see more about RAMPs – Regional Approach Mitigation Planning - click here to see Liz's presentation)

11:24am:  Jim and Erich have wrapped up and we're going to start the Q&A portion of the Gathering.  

11:22am: The presentation from the EBRPD's team is up on our website.  

11:19am: Erich is telling the group about their TIGER II award.  

Erich's bio is:

Erich first learn to love the East Bay Regional Park District by working on a local ballot initiative to benefit the District when he moved to the Bay Area in 2003.  Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Erich worked on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. with a Michigan Member of Congress for 13 ½ years.  Erich has also worked as the state director for Clean Water Action in California and as U.S. Representative Jerry McNerney's district director.  In February 2008, Erich began working with the East Bay Regional Park District where he is now the Government Relations and Legislative Affairs Manager.  Erich originally grew up near Spokane, Washington and holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Washington in Seattle.  Erich enjoys running, music and being outside.  Erich and his wife have a 2 ½ year-old daughter and live near downtown Pleasanton.

11:11am: Jim Townsend shares with the group: "Integrating walking and biking goals into regional planning is critical for those of us who care about parks and open space.  Land that is not paved over for highways is land that can be used for parks, farms, and urban planning efforts that make sense for all of us."

11:09: And with that Liz concludes.  Up to the podium go Jim Townsend and Erich Pfuehler from East Bay Regional Park District. 

11:08am: Liz O'Donoghue: "Need to have good relationships and provide transportation agencies with the opportunity to work together."

11:00am: Liz is talking about Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS).  The first SCS was done in San Diego.  They are mandated by California SB375.  You can learn more about the SCS happening here in the Bay Area here.  Liz is talking about the important role that Greenbelt Alliance has had in shaping the region's SCS (Go Greenbelt!).

10:56am: Liz's presentation is now on our website.


10:53am: Liz O'Donoghue from The Nature Conservancy:


Here is Liz's bio: 

Liz O’Donoghue oversees The Nature Conservancy’s California Chapter’s policy agenda on infrastructure and land use, strategic growth and integration with natural resource protection, and the organization’s national transportation policy agenda. From 2006 – 2009, Liz served as the Director of External Affairs, where she oversaw the Californiaprogram’s engagements with government and stakeholders at the federal, state, county, and local levels. She helped develop and direct the Conservancy’s strategies on public policy, public funding, legislation, bonds, and constituency building.

Before coming to the Conservancy in August 2006, she worked for seven years at the western regional headquarters of Amtrak, first as Director of Communications, Government, and Public Affairs, then as Director of Strategic Planning, where she was responsible for developing and implementing Amtrak’s strategy on developing passenger rail corridors in the West. Previously, she served for seven years as legislativeassistant for U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, specializing in transportation and natural resource policy. Before that, she worked in a public policy firm in Princeton, New Jersey, consulting with major corporate clients on environmental, health care, and transportation issues. She holds a B.A. in government from Oberlin College and a certificate with distinction in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley Extension.

10:46am: Jeremy wrapped up and hands the mic to Liz O'Donoghue from TNC.

10:45am: I am uploading the speakers' presentations to our website here as they present them.

10:42am: Jeremy making the case for land conservationalists interest and stake in transportation issues:


10:38am: Jeremy Madsen: "2 million more homes could be built within the current urban footprint."

Here is Jeremy's bio: 

As Executive Director, Jeremy Madsen sets and implements the organization's strategic goals and manages its operations. He is the leader of Greenbelt Alliance's policy and advocacy efforts to protect the Bay Area's open spaces and promote the creation of vibrant urban places.

Jeremy comes to Greenbelt Alliance from The San Francisco Foundation, where he helped to launch the Great Communities Collaborative and supported social equity, affordable housing, and smart growth efforts around the Bay Area. From 2001 to 2005, Jeremy was Greenbelt Alliance's Field Director, leading the organization's policy campaigns and supervising the work of all its field offices. Previously, Jeremy served as Field Director for Washington state’s Transportation Choices Coalition, coordinated fair trade campaigns for the Washington, DC-based Citizens Trade Campaign, and ran get-out-the-vote efforts for candidate and ballot measure campaigns. B.A., George Washington University. M.S., Environmental Studies, University of Oregon.

10:32am: Laura welcomes Jeremy Madsen up to the podium…


10:26am: Today's speakers will be: 

10:24am: We're moving on a summer pace and just getting started.  Laura Cohen of Rails to Trails Conservancy is providing the bios of our speakers which I'll share with you in a minute.

10:00am: Good morning!  Today we are holding our 3rd Gathering of the year: the Fog Gathering, named after what many of us around the Bay Area associate with July.  This is Annie Burke and I'll be blogging this morning with quotes, photos, and links.  The program starts at 10am.  Ready?