It’s fall now, with glorious warm weather that compels us to slow down, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves of all the reasons we choose to live in this place of great beauty. It’s before the rain starts and the next cycle of natural growth begins, which feels like an especially wonderful time for me to be joining Bay Nature Institute. I’d like to introduce myself as the new executive director and publisher.
I take on this role with deep appreciation to David Loeb, who founded Bay Nature 17 years ago. He is retiring (after 67 issues!) and, as he says, is looking forward to having more time for observations in the natural world, in the Bay Area, and farther afield. Thank you, David, for all your contributions to the Bay Area’s nature, for the partnerships you have fostered with local environmental organizations and agencies, and for bringing natural beauty into so many people’s lives.
I love the Bay Area. I am one of those East Coast transplants who moved west and never looked back. First living in Oakland, now in San Francisco, I’ve spent untold hours with kids and dogs in local parks such as Billy Goat Hill and the underappreciated McLaren Park. I had the great pleasure of helping with the creation of one of San Francisco’s newest parks—the Noe Valley Town Square, a public-private partnership with the City of San Francisco and the community. San Francisco has more than 220 parks, and I’ve recently learned that it’s the first city in the country to have every resident live within a 10-minute walk of a park or open space. I live within 10 minutes of at least seven.
Over the last 10 years I have worked at nonprofits that have covered or supported the environment, at the Stanford Social Innovation Review and at Tides, the public charity working to advance social change, and most of my career has been in media. I’m excited and humbled to bring my experience to Bay Nature, with its extraordinary staff, board, and partners. Our parks and open space are under attack, and the Bay Nature Institute is in a unique position to take a major leadership role, working with local partners, to protect and champion nature.
Our Bay Area nature is also going to be tremendously challenged by population growth. According to the Plan Bay Area 2040, a state-mandated, integrated long-range transportation, land-use, and housing plan, the data suggests that over the next 30 years the region will attract another two million people, bringing the population to over nine million. With Priority Conservation Areas, the plan will help preserve more than 100 regionally significant open spaces that face near-term development pressures. The Plan Bay Area 2040 is important, and we encourage you to take a careful look at it.
You have much to enjoy in this current issue. “Hiking With Dad” may change your perspective on nature’s role in recovery and on caregiving. Fall is an excellent time to visit Mount Tam, and I know our special supplement will make you want to revisit the Dipsea Trail and check out the habitats of the threespine stickleback, the northern spotted owl, and the American badger. While you are breathing in this wonderful fresh fall air you can actually smell the season, and we will tell you more about what your olfactory sense is telling you in Signs of the Season.
I look forward to getting to know you and the things you cherish or wish for in your relationship with Bay Nature. I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.
There’s lots more where this came from…
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John Kelly, the director of conservation science at Audubon Canyon Ranch, is retiring after decades making a better Bay Area for birds.