FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Berkeley, CA (December 17, 2012) — A beloved ranger/naturalist at Muir Woods, a dynamic advocate for open space around Mount Diablo, and a young woman dedicated to reaching out to diverse communities with a message of conservation will be the recipients of Bay Nature Institute’s 2013 Local Hero Awards.
Each year, the nonprofit Bay Nature Institute (BNI), based in Berkeley, selects three individuals who are making outstanding contributions to the understanding, protection, and stewardship of the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to BNI’s Executive Director David Loeb, “Here in the Bay Area, we’re blessed with a tremendous legacy of parks and protected wild lands that makes this region one of the most desirable places in the world to live. But it’s easy to take this legacy for granted, and forget that it exists due to the hard work of many dedicated individuals. So we at Bay Nature think it’s important to recognize some of these inspirational people and say, “Thanks for all you do to make this a better place.”
The awards will be presented at Bay Nature’s Annual Awards Dinner, on Sunday, March 24, 2013, 6:00 p.m., at the Terrace Room of the Lake Merritt Hotel in Oakland. Tickets for the event may be purchased at baynature13.eventbrite.com.
The 2013 Local Hero Award winners are:
Conservation Action: Seth Adams, Save Mount Diablo
No one knows more about Mount Diablo and its people than Seth Adams, Director of Land Programs at Save Mount Diablo. And no one has been as dedicated as Seth to protecting the mountain, its wildlife, and its diverse plant communities. Since joining Save Mount Diablo as its first professional staff member in 1988, Seth has been directly involved in property acquisitions and easements protecting tens of thousands of acres of natural lands in eastern Contra Costa and Alameda counties. In 1988 a development boom was sweeping the area, threatening to make Mount Diablo an isolated island of open space in a sea of houses, shopping malls, and roads. But thanks in large part to Seth’s visionary leadership and dogged persistence, Save Mount Diablo has helped to turn that nightmare scenario on its head, making the mountain the centerpiece of an expansive vision of large connected blocks of open space.
According to Bay Nature’s Executive Director David Loeb, “This award for Conservation Action recognizes that the work done by Seth and Save Mount Diablo over the past 25 years has truly altered the course of the East Bay, ensuring that it remains a livable region for people and wildlife alike.”
Environmental Education: Mia Monroe, Golden Gate National Parks
No one is more dedicated to getting people out to appreciate and learn about the natural world than Mia Monroe, Site Supervisor at Muir Woods National Monument and Interpretive Supervisor for the Golden Gate National Parks’ Marin Interpretive Area (including Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, and the Marin Headlands). Originally from San Carlos on the Peninsula, Mia has been a national park ranger since 1976, starting out at Fort Point in San Francisco before moving north across the Golden Gate to become park naturalist for Muir Woods. She has conducted naturalist hikes and programs for countless park visitors—young and old, Bay Area residents and tourists—introducing them to the wonders of the old growth redwood forest, the allure of tidepools, and the rhythms of coastal streams.
As a supervisor, Mia now spends more time planning and coordinating such interpretive programs than giving them, but she makes sure to get away from her desk to spend time out in the field, staying in contact with park visitors and the natural beauty they’ve come to enjoy in “her” parks. According to Bay Nature’s David Loeb, “Mia is such an effective communicator because she combines a deep knowledge of the landscape with an infectious sense of curiosity and wonder.”
Youth Engagement: Cindy Moreno
At 23 years, Cindy Moreno has already packed in more experience in the environmental arena than most of us get to in our lifetimes. A native of Arvin, a small agricultural community in the Central Valley and a recent graduate of the Environmental Studies program at San Jose State, Cindy’s passion is reaching out to diverse communities to educate them about sustainable practices and engage them in conservation. She was recently hired to be an energy outreach specialist for WattzOn, helping Spanish-speaking residents of the South Bay evaluate and reduce their energy consumption using the company’s innovative online tools.
In her “spare time” Cindy works as a guide for the Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, leading weekend field trips for children and adults in this restored riparian habitat running through the heart of San Jose. And she works part-time as a Garden Based Educator at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale, developing and delivering programs on healthy nutrition and sustainable food systems.
While in school, Cindy worked as a student intern at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, developing outreach and education programs to promote shorebird conservation with the Latino communities of the South Bay. Jennifer Heroux, Chief of Visitor’s Services and Cindy’s supervisor at the refuge, says: “Cindy is an exceptional young woman—passionate and completely dedicated to the environment and building community. She has done so much for someone in her early 20s.”
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