Bay Nature embarks on its 20th year of publishing with this issue. That’s no small accomplishment for a nonprofit, independent regional magazine, and it’s thanks, of course, to readers, donors, and advertisers that the magazine exists. This publication is a manifestation of your collective ideals and passions.
When cofounders David Loeb and Malcolm Margolin mailed out the first issue in January 2001, their early hopes were simply for the magazine to survive. So many publications begin and then wither within two years. “It’s safe to say that we had no concept of what Bay Area conservation would look like 20 years ahead,” David wrote in an email about those first years, “not to mention having no idea what publishing would look like (remember, in 2001, Malcolm was still using a typewriter to communicate!)…The largest factor we didn’t anticipate was how every aspect of conservation in 2020 would be touched and shaped by climate change and its consequences.”
While the future platforms of publishing are anybody’s guess, 2040 is on many minds as we prepare for changes in Bay Area ecosystems and conservation, knowing the region is expected to grow by 2 million people and be more demographically diverse, weather will be more extreme, and temperatures and sea level will continue to rise. These trends are already beginning to orient conservation. The large swaths of open space surrounding San Francisco Bay have in many respects been bought and preserved. Not all of it, but a lot. The protection of nearly 1,000 acres in Coyote Valley adjacent to San José, which we report on in this issue, represents one of those last big buys. Taking care of protected and private land is a growing concern and focus of land managers, and you can read about their work in a series of stories called “Stewardship,” sponsored by the California Landscape Stewardship Network. Biologists and ecologists are also studying species already living at the extreme limits of physiology and habitat: northern elephant seals and inland redwoods. Scientists want to understand how these species survive and what that suggests about adaptability in the face of climate change.
In our 20th year, Bay Nature will explore the challenges that define the Bay Area’s conservation future, and we will continue to do what Bay Nature has done since its inception. In the words of cofounder Malcolm Margolin, “For me the power of a magazine lies not so much in the finished product, but in the community it creates. In this regard, Bay Nature has been extraordinarily successful. Its writers, editors, photographers, designers, printers, advertisers, subscribers, supporters, and people who go on field trips, attend award ceremonies, and otherwise interact with one another, learn from each other, and change one another have become a dynamic force in the Bay Area’s sense of itself.”