Each year, the nonprofit Bay Nature Institute, 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.
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 anchor for an expansive vision of large connected blocks of open space stretching from Highway 4 in the north to I-580 in the south.
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 would remain a livable region for people and wildlife alike.”
Seth also understands that the best way to win advocates for open space is to get people out onto it: He has led hikes for thousands of people, sharing his knowledge of the mountain and inspiring many to join in Save Mount Diablo’s efforts to preserve wild landscapes on and around the mountain.
The son of a career army officer, Seth was born in North Carolina, but moved frequently with his family, attending high school in Italy and Germany before returning to the U.S. to attend Michigan State University. He came to the Bay Area in 1981 to study biology at UC Berkeley and has lived here ever since. Seth is an avid hiker, cyclist, and weightlifter, and currently resides in Martinez.
This year’s Local Hero 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 are sold out.