It can be said that the nature of nature is change. That doesn’t mean change is necessarily good or bad. It just is. And the best advice is often to embrace the change instead of digging in your heels in a hopeless attempt to prevent it.
However, I have to admit that I veered more toward the latter response when long-time editorial director Dan Rademacher informed me in early July that he’d decided to take another job and move on after more than nine years at Bay Nature. To understand my initial response, you have to understand the central role that Dan has played at Bay Nature since February 2004. At the time, I’d just received a cancer diagnosis and needed to step away for a few months for treatment and surgery. By coincidence, Dan had written a few weeks earlier expressing interest in working at Bay Nature. What did I have to lose?
That temporary, part-time, fill-in gig turned into a long-term, over-time, full-on partnership with one of the most dedicated and talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Since then, each issue of Bay Nature has been the result of a collaboration between the two of us. Our website, on the other hand, has been mostly Dan’s doing, as he twice guided a thorough overhaul of Baynature.org, shaping it into a dynamic portal for information about the natural world of the Bay Area. It’s no exaggeration to say that Dan will be — already is — sorely missed.
However, after denial comes acceptance, and I’m thrilled to introduce our new editorial director. Bay Area native Eric Simons is a young environmental journalist with two books, countless articles, and several stints teaching at the UC Berkeley J-School already under his belt. Plus, he has thought long and hard about the exciting opportunities offered by the internet and social media for new ways of telling stories about people and nature and for reaching new audiences. This is just where we want to go.
There will be more changes coming as well: Graphic designer extraordinaire David Bullen, who has been with us since the beginning, will be retiring after the January 2014 issue. It is David who’s been most responsible for the beautiful “look and feel” of the magazine that makes holding a copy such a pleasure. With this nearly complete change in the team responsible for Bay Nature (except — for better or worse — yours truly) there are bound to be changes coming in the magazine itself. What they’ll be, I don’t yet know. But I’d love to have your input as we figure it out, so I invite you to participate in the Bay Nature Readers’ Survey (baynature.org/survey). It will only take ten minutes of your time, but it will definitely help us chart our future course.
One possible direction: more of the cross-platform coverage of substantive issues we’ve initiated with the “Fracking in the Golden State” series that has been rolling out on Baynature.org since early August (baynature.org/fracking) and continues in this issue. By looking at the underlying geology and the potential habitat impacts, we take a uniquely “Bay Nature” approach to this controversial topic and hopefully help inform your personal take on it. We’d love to know what you think.