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About Us

Sunset over the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Image by Britta Heise

Sunset at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Image by Britta Heise

Mission | History | Programs | Staff | Board | Jobs | Volunteering and Internships


Bay Nature connects the people of the Bay Area to our natural world and motivates people to solve problems with nature in mind.


Our vision is that all people have a close relationship with their natural world.


The idea for Bay Nature arose out of a conversation between Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books, and David Loeb, the recently-retired publisher of Bay Nature, in February 1997. The concept was to create a luminous and intelligent publication that would reflect the natural beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area, honor the region’s legacy of environmental advocacy, and nurture its wealth of creative talent.

Margolin and Loeb launched Bay Nature magazine in January 2001, with invaluable collaboration from Marilyn Hope Smulyan, Amy Hunter, Tom White, Dennis Gallagher, and Dave Bullen; and with lead funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Hikers on a Bay Nature outing

Hikers on a Bay Nature outing

Bay Nature began life as a project of the Clapperstick Institute, the nonprofit affiliate of Heyday Books. In 2004, Bay Nature Institute was formed as an independent tax exempt charitable organization and took over publication of the magazine. Today, the Institute publishes the magazine, sponsors the production of “Bay Nature on the Air,” arranges and leads outings to places featured in Bay Nature magazine, and hosts the BayNature.org website.

From its inception, Bay Nature has drawn from the legacy of conservation leadership and action that is a hallmark of the Bay Area. As such, Bay Nature is an expression of the dynamism and creativity of the region’s conservation and natural history communities—including local nonprofits, museums, research institutions, open space agencies, and individuals.

Want to find out more? Download the All About Bay Nature fact sheet here.


April-June 2013 cover of Bay Nature magazine

April-June 2013 cover

Bay Nature Institute works towards its goal of promoting a deeper connection to the natural world of the Bay Area through several programs, including:

1. Bay Nature magazine, a full-color quarterly publication launched in January 2001 that explores the landscapes and wildlife of the Bay Area, and highlights the people and organizations that are working to understand them, protect them, and educate others about them. You can subscribe to Bay Nature online; back issues may also be purchased online.

2. Bay Nature in the Field consists of free naturalist-led hikes and outings to places featured in the magazine, as well as occasional community events. Go to our Events page for more information or to sign up on our outings email notification list.

3. Bay Nature on the Air is a series of short video spots that run in between regularly-scheduled programs on Northern California public television stations. The 2-1/2 minute shorts showcase the natural diversity of Northern California and highlight the efforts of organizations and individuals who work on its behalf.

4. BayNature.org is an online gateway to experiences in the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area, with a brand new Trailfinder and park search, fresh stories and videos every week, a comprehensive regional nature events calendar, all Bay Nature magazine content, a directory of local organizations, and more!

5. Local Hero Awards Dinner: Each year, Bay Nature honors the contributions of a conservation activist, an environmental educator, and an up-and-coming young conservationist at our annual gala dinner.


Regina Starr RidleyRegina Starr Ridley, Executive Director & Publisher  regina@baynature.org, (510) 528-8550 x101

Regina succeeds Bay Nature’s founding Executive Director/Publisher David Loeb in leading our efforts to connect people to the natural world of the San Francisco Bay Area. She brings a great depth of experience in both nonprofit and for-profit media, including organization-building and strategic development: Before arriving at Bay Nature, Regina was publishing director of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, a media group that includes an award-winning print journal, website, webinars, and conferences for leaders of social change. Prior to joining Stanford in 2006, Regina had a 20-year career in for-profit media. As a group president at CMP Media, she ran a $150 million media division and both launched and acquired many media properties. Regina has a master’s degree in International Management from the Thunderbird Graduate School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut. Her passions outside of work include travel and involvement in her community, global and local. She is a fellowship program evaluator for several international social entrepreneurship organizations, serves on the board of the Noe Valley Farmers Market and, whenever she can, cooks and serves free healthy meals at San Francisco’s Martin de Porres House of Hospitality. Read Bay Nature’s press release about Regina.

Laney EnnisDevelopment and Editorial Associate laney@baynature.org
(510) 528-8550 x103

Laney graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2016 with a degree in Environmental Studies and an outside concentration in Spanish. After returning to her hometown of El Sobrante, she was thrilled to begin working at Bay Nature, gaining more in-depth knowledge of the natural world where she was raised. Laney wears many hats at Bay Nature, from fundraising to coordinating magazine photography to planning the annual awards dinner. Prior to her current role, Laney worked at Save The Bay as a development assistant and interned at Food & Water Watch as a community organizer. In her free time, you can find her bouldering at the local rock gym, or planning a last minute camping trip.


Sue Rosenthal, Research Editor sue@baynature.org

vic_photoVictoria Schlesinger, Editor in Chief victoria@baynature.org
(510) 528-8550 x102

Victoria joined the organization as editor in chief in spring 2015. Growing up in the Bay Area, her first overnight hiking trip was from the oak-covered Peninsula School campus in Menlo Park through the redwoods in La Honda and down to the sands of Pescadero along with a gaggle of 40 other third and fourth graders. She’s been hooked on the outdoors ever since. Victoria worked as a raft guide in Colorado, a backpacking counselor in the Trinity Alps, and spent the better part of her 20s researching and writing a book about ecology in Central America. Her journalism career began at California Wild magazine and the Point Reyes Light newspaper, and she has since earned a two Masters degrees from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her articles have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Mother Jones, Audubon and The New York Times, among many other outlets, and she been on staff with Discover, PBS Frontline, Plenty, and California Lawyer. Victoria lives in Berkeley with her husband and young daughter.

BayNature_ESphotoEric Simons, Editorial Director eric@baynature.org
(510) 528-8550 x104

Eric joined Bay Nature in the fall of 2013 as editorial director. An almost lifelong Bay Area resident, he grew up exploring the creeks and pastures of the East Bay and graduated to longer hiking and backpacking trips across the Western United States. A former kayak instructor, newspaper journalist, freelance writer – and for eight glorious weeks, intern sorter of small frozen fishes in a UC Santa Barbara marine biology lab — Eric spent several years teaching reporting at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and managing the news site Richmond Confidential. He is also the author of Darwin Slept Here, a travel adventure and natural history that traces Charles Darwin’s route across mainland South America, and The Secret Lives of Sports Fans, an investigation into the scientific origins of his annual hockey-related temper tantrums. Eric lives in San Francisco and enjoys exploring nature on the more sidewalk-square scale with his wife and young daughters.

Mitchell Canyon

Beth Slatkin, Marketing & Outreach Director beth@baynature.org
(510) 528-8550 x107

Beth officially joined Bay Nature in the spring of 2011, but her first contribution was a sidebar on saving local frogs to accompany David Rains Wallace’s April 2002 cover story “A Leap of Faith. A passionate observer of and advocate for the natural world, Beth has a dual background in magazine publishing (MJ, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism) and digital marketing for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Staying on the leading edge of “marcom” helps her reach new audiences and inspire others to fall in love with local nature. An experienced grant writer and board member of International Bird Rescue, Beth roams Northern California’s wild spaces in her spare time, listening out for bird song and the occasional ribbit, open to new discoveries.

Jenny Stampp, Office Manager jenny@baynature.org
(510) 528-8550 x100

Laurence Tietz, Web Development /  Information Technology Manager, laurence@baynature.org

Laurence has always enjoyed working at the intersection of technology and culture. Laurence produced and published the award winning “P.O.V. Mount Diablo” An Interactive documentary about naturalist photographer Stephen Joseph; worked with Mexican photographer Pedro Meyer on his interactive work “Truths & Fictions” a Voyager CD-ROM that premiered at California Museum of Photography at the University of California, Riverside; worked with Carroll Parrott Blue to create her award winning “The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing,” and other non-fiction interactive projects at The Labyrinth Project , a research initiative on interactive narrative at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Laurence has taught interaction design and development at the America Film Institute, UCLA Film School and California State University at Northridge , Film School.

IMG_3152Ellen Weis, Advertising Director ellen@baynature.org
(510) 813-1903

Ellen Weis began her career in independent small press publishing with Coffee House Press. She gained notoriety in her twenties as the Co-Founder of the acclaimed Museum of Modern Mythology. The Museum’s mission was to interpret the cultural impact of American advertising characters such as Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Peanut, Tony the Tiger, Pillsbury Dough Boy and thousands more.  As Executive Director of MMM, Ellen led fundraising, acquisitions, PR, Ad Agency, and Board development efforts, including the participation of mythologist Joseph Campbell. MMM was featured extensively in the media: Wall Street Journal, LA Times, New York Times, People, and Smithsonian Magazine. Continuing in communications and media, Ellen launched and ran a successful Bay Area PR firm before joining the Bay Nature team in 2010. A published short story writer and avid outdoors-woman, Ellen’s perfect day includes traveling, biking or hiking with her family and friends. Her 2004 non-fiction book, Berkeley: The Life and Spirit of a Remarkable Town is still in print.

David Loeb, Founder
Beginning in 2001, David Loeb served as editor and then publisher of Bay Nature magazine and executive director of Bay Nature Institute. A Bay Area resident since 1973, David moved here after graduating from college in Boston. The decision was largely based on a week spent visiting friends in San Francisco the previous January, which had included a memorable day at Point Reyes National Seashore. In the late 1990s, after many years working for the Guatemala News and Information Bureau in Oakland, David had the opportunity to spend more time hiking and exploring the parks and open spaces of the Bay Area. Increasingly curious about what he was seeing, he began reading natural history books, attending naturalist-led hikes and natural history courses and lectures, and volunteering for several local conservation organizations.

This was rewarding, but he began to feel that the rich natural diversity of the Bay Area deserved a special venue and a dedicated voice for the whole region, to supplement the many publications devoted to one particular place or issue. That’s when the germ of Bay Nature magazine began to take shape. In February 1997, David contacted Malcolm Margolin, publisher of Heyday Books and News from Native California, with the idea of a magazine focused on nature in the Bay Area, and was delighted with Malcolm’s enthusiastic response. Over the course of many discussions with Malcolm, local publishing professionals, potential funders, and local conservation and advocacy groups, the magazine gradually took shape and was launched in January 2001. Seventeen years later, David still finds it hard to believe that he gets to do what he loves — exploring the natural world — for “work.”

David retired as Executive Director and Publisher on June 30, 2017, and now serves as Senior Advisor to the staff and board.

Affiliates: Rick Bacigalupi, Producer of Bay Nature on the Air and Bay Nature in the Field videos rick@baynature.org
(Principal, BaciPix)


Catherine Fox, Fundraising Executive (retired)
Berkeley, CA

Tracy Grubbs, Fine Artist
San Francisco

Bruce Hartsough, Interpretive Ecologist
Santa Rosa, CA

Reed Holderman, Land Trust Executive Director (retired)
Oakland, CA

John Raeside, Publisher (retired)
Oakland, CA

Bob Schildgen, Author
Berkeley, CA

Nancy Westcott, Chief Financial Officer (retired)
Palo Alto, CA


Development Director, Bay Nature Institute

Bay Nature Institute, an established Berkeley-based nonprofit, is looking for an experienced development professional. This is an exciting opportunity for someone skilled in fundraising from individuals and foundations, and who cares deeply about Bay Area nature and conservation. The role may be of particular interest to an individual ready to take on more responsibility, or one looking to make a big difference for a smaller, entrepreneurial nonprofit with a local environmental focus.

Bay Nature Institute is a healthy nonprofit connecting people to the natural world of the Bay Area through:

  • Our award-winning quarterly magazine, Bay Nature
  • Social media, an e-newsletter, and the Baynature.org website
  • An annual gala celebrating local conservation heroes
  • Guided hike programs

Our staff has a passion for Bay Area nature and believes positive change happens when people connect with nature. We work to make a difference in the world through inspiring people to explore nature and encouraging their engagement with conservation.

Essential Responsibilities


  • Serve on the senior management team with the Executive Director (ED) and Editor in Chief.
  • Supervise part-time Development Associate and work closely with Marketing and Outreach Director.


  • Partner with the ED to create strategic and operational fundraising plans and the annual budget. More than half of Bay Nature Institute’s annual income comes from charitable donations, events, and grants.
  • Work closely with the ED to execute the fundraising plan, with leadership responsibility for day-to-day implementation and achievement of agreed-upon goals.
  • Manage direct mail fundraising efforts from beginning to end. Draft letters, segment mailings, oversee pricing and relationships with vendors, analyze results.
  • Manage all aspects of the annual fundraising gala, from chairing the events committee, to managing the program, overseeing collateral, handling communications, overseeing ticket sales, and obtaining individual and organizational sponsorships.
  • Cultivate and steward donor relationships through email, phone, and in-person visits. Fundraising this year includes a special campaign to raise funds for enhancing Bay Nature’s digital presence.
  • Grow Bay Nature’s grant portfolio through researching foundations, communicating with foundation staff members, drafting letters of intent, submitting grant requests, and generating reports to funders.
  • Support the ED’s fundraising efforts by helping identify prospective major donors, cultivate relationships, set up in-person meetings, qualify donors, and draft donor proposals.
  • Consistently express Bay Nature’s mission, vision, and focus on impact (positive change in the world) in all communication.


  • Support the ED in responding to board requests and preparing for quarterly board meetings.
  • Staff the Board Advancement Committee, guiding and supporting committee members with data, narrative information, and other resources as needed.


  • Five or more years of fundraising experience with increasing responsibilities.
  • Knowledgeable and proven successful in fundraising from individuals and foundations.
  • Experience managing events, including garnering event sponsorships and managing volunteers.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, Google Drive and CRM software (Salesforce).
  • Extremely well organized.
  • Excellent oral, written, and in-person communications skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to relate an organization’s mission and goals with a prospect’s priorities.
  • Comfortable with a fast-paced environment; thinks entrepreneurially.
  • Enjoys and has solid experience working collaboratively in a team, as well as independently.
  • Passion for the work Bay Nature does and the idea of people solving problems with nature in mind.
  • Knowledge of and experience with the Bay Area nonprofit and/or conservation communities.

Bachelor’s degree
Classes/seminars/self-education in fundraising

This is a full-time, exempt position that reports to the Executive Director.

Bay Nature Institute offers healthcare, pre-tax transit benefits, flexible work hours, and generous holiday, sick, and vacation leave.

To apply, please send:

  • Your resume
  • A thoughtful cover letter that describes
    • your interest in Bay Nature Institute,
    • why you are well-suited for this role, and
    • how it fits into your career path
  • Salary requirements

to hiring@baynature.org.

No phone calls please. Position will remain open until filled.

Bay Nature Institute is an equal opportunity employer.

posted 3/19/18

Volunteering and Internships

For more information on volunteering and internships, click here.

Bay Nature