2019 Keynote Obi Kaufmann
Obi Kaufmann, author of the best-selling California Field Atlas, turns his artful yet analytical attention to the Golden State's single most complex and controversial resource: water. He will share his new book, The State of Water and discuss state-wide conservation ecology (challenges and opportunities), and his interdisciplinary approach to understanding it through art and science.
In his new book, full-color maps unravel the braided knot of California's water infrastructure and ecosystems, exposing a history of unlimited growth in spite of finite natural resources-a history that has led to its current precarious circumstances. Yet this built world depends upon the biosphere, and in The State of Water Kaufmann argues that environmental conservation and restoration efforts are necessary not only for ethical reasons but also as a matter of human survival. Offering nine perspectives to illustrate the most pressing challenges facing California's water infrastructure, from dams to species revitalization, Kaufmann reveals pragmatic yet inspiring solutions to how water in the West can continue to support agriculture, municipalities, and the environment. Interspersed throughout with trail paintings of animals that might yet survive under a caring and careful water ethic, Kaufmann shows how California can usher in a new era of responsible water conservation, and--perhaps most importantly--how we may do so together.
Signed books will be for sale at the event.
Bio: Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Into adulthood, he would regularly journey into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. For Kaufmann, the epic narrative of the California backcountry holds enough art, science, mythology, and language for a hundred field atlases to come. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at his desk in Oakland, www.coyoteandthunder.com.
2019 Peter Behr Steward of the Land
We are happy to announce Jean Berensmeier as our 2019 Peter Behr Steward of the Land for her legacy of stewardship and advocacy in West Marin’s San Geronimo Valley.
Jean was born in Livermore, California in 1932, and spent her childhood in Nevada with her grandparents, and as an adult in the East Bay before she discovered the San Geronimo Valley in 1953, and settled with her family in 1963. Jean has long legacy of serving the Valley community through her founding of the San Geronimo Valley Community Center in 1968, San Geronimo Valley Planning Group in 1972, serving on the County Parks & Open Space Commission 1977 - 1997, founding Wilderness Way environmental educational center in 1999, and working with the Lagunitas School District, and other local nonprofit boards. She was instrumental in the preservation of Marin Open Space, which includes four magnificent open space preserves in the San Geronimo Valley, including Roy’s Redwoods.
Jean’s call to environmental advocacy came in 1972 when she learned about 1961 Marin County Master Plan, which planned for large scale development plans (5,000 homes for construction to serve a population of 20,000) in the Valley. Jean and a group of her friends immediately took action to Save the Valley, starting with their efforts to elect a Marin County Supervisor who would help adopt an environmentally sound Marin County Wide Plan. They formed the San Geronimo Valley Planning Group and spent five years working on the Valley’s first Community Plan, and for 24 years she served as an appointee to the Parks and Open Space Commission, where she helped protect and preserve over 2,600 acres from urban development.
Jean is the recipient of several awards for her service, including Marin County's Volunteer of the Year (1988), Marin Conservation League's Marin Green Award (2002), the Sierra Club Resource Conservation Award (2005), and the Marin Conservation League's Peter Behr Lifetime Achievement Award (2014).
2019 Public Service Steward
John Dell’Osso is the 2019 recipient of the EAC’s Public Service Steward award for his leadership role with the National Park Service at Point Reyes National Seashore.
For nearly four decades, John was an integral part of the Point Reyes National Seashore. As the park’s Chief of Interpretation and Resource Education/Public Information Officer, he helped to educate the public about the Seashore through park education programs, social media, the press and interpretive materials. For over 36 years, he had a hand in countless efforts, from organizing the annual Christmas Bird Count and Naturalization Ceremony, to acting as a community liaison to helping conserve lands along Tomales Bay, and as an acting Superintendent for over three Bay Area National Parks.
John had a strong connection and influence on land protection, having worked with agencies and landowners in West Marin—particularly those along the Tomales Bay shoreline—to secure land and ensure that it remains undeveloped.
“He’s a consummate professional,” said Frank Borodic, a member of the West Marin Chamber of Commerce and an inn owner in Olema. “Over the years there have been hot issues, and he has always handled himself well and represented the park well. I always believe he’s a straight shooter. He definitely considers the community with anything regarding the park.”
John Golda, who has worked with John for 20 years as an interpretive park ranger, said he could not think of anything he has worked on that John has not also been a part of. “Early in his career he worked with facilities, budgeting, personnel stuff,” Mr. Golda said. “So more than just the educational side that we deal with, he always knew how those other pieces tied in to how the park operates and how it works.”
Under John’s tenure, Golda added, “this park has won more awards for our publications and exhibit design—and these are awards from professional awards interpreters—than any other national park site. It’s something I’ll always take away from this place.”
John is a child of the North Bay, born in San Francisco to Italian immigrants. His father was a chef who owned a string of restaurants, including one called Dell’Osso’s, in the 1960s. When he was still a child, his parents moved to the Petaluma area to run a restaurant called the Green Mill. As a young man he decided to forgo the culinary arts, and he was a junior at the University of California, Davis when he took part in an environmental education program for local schoolchildren. At the end of his junior year, he turned down a Sacramento-based offer with California State Parks to volunteer three days a week at the Point Reyes National Seashore. A month before graduation, he was hired for a temporary interpretation position at Point Reyes, which lead to a permanent position in 1983.
John retired from the National Park Service in April of 2019, but remains active with his family in the North Bay, as well as civil service leader in the town of Cotati in Sonoma County. Since 1990, John has been involved with his local community as the current mayor of Cotati (and formerly in 1996 and 2014), as the Sonoma County Library Commissioner (2007 – 2013), as the Environmental Advisory Commissioner (1990 -1994), served as a councilman for many years, worked on many nonprofit boards, and was voted Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2001. We look forward to honoring his long legacy of preserving and protecting the Seashore’s unique resources, and sharing his passion with the public.
Peter Behr Stewards of the Land Awardees
The Peter Behr Steward of the Land Award is named after former California State Senator, Marin County Supervisor, Mill Valley councilman, lawyer and visionary leader, Peter H. Behr (May 24, 1915, New York City, New York – March 10, 1997, Greenbrae, California). During his lifetime, Peter helped create the Point Reyes National Seashore and inspired generations of legislators to protect the environment. The award is given out each year at the annual member meeting, potluck and awards in June by the EAC board and staff, and in recognition of leaders who are making a difference for Marin's unique lands, waters and biodiversity.
1987 | Peter H. Behr (May 24, 1915 - March 10, 1997), former California State Senator & Instrumental Advocate for Point Reyes National Seashore.
1987 | Richard Plant, former chair of the Tomales Bay Advisory Committee and current board member of the Tomales Bay Watershed Council Foundation.
1987 | Gary Giacomini (April 4, 1939 – December 2, 2016), former Marin County Supervisor for his commitment to the Marin County's environment.
1988 | Donna Sheehan (1930-2015), artist and activist who was instrumental to the MOW! movement in West Marin, a local grass-roots anti-toxics movement providing education and advocacy for the area n the 1980s.
1989 | Marin Agricultural Land Trust
1990 | Robert "Inverness Bob" Coolidge
1991 | Richard Charter, coordinated local government support that helped to bring about the creation of the Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank, Channel Islands, and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries, and is now the director of the Ocean Foundation.
1992 | Save Tomales Bay Committee (now the Tomales Bay Watershed Council), opposed increased freshwater diversions from Tomales Bay and to take actions to protect the coho salmon of Lagunitas Creek. This group was active before the State Water Resources Control Board in 1982 and 1995 and won significant protections, including increased stream-flows for fish life and other biological resources within the watershed.
1993 | Waste Watch, for their advocacy in partnership with EAC to oppose the West Marin dump.
1994 | Joe & Kathy Tresch, for their environmentally friendly approach to farming.
1995 | Kay Holbrook (d. 2003), pioneer conservationist and environmental activist who played a vital role in prohibiting the privatization of California’s beachfronts, and encouraging open space.
1996 | Don Neubacher, former park superintendent at Point Reyes National Seashore for his leadership in protecting park and coastal resources.
1997 | Don McIssac (1941 -2012), farmer along the Lagunitas Creek.
1998 | Jerry Friedman (d. 1999), environmentalist, veteran Marin County Planning Commissioner, Point Reyes advocate, and EAC founder.
1999 | Carlos Porrata, former ranger at Tomales State Park turned wildlife photographer, who shared the natural and cultural history of the parks for over 30 years.
2001 | EAC's Founders 30th Anniversary (Jerry Friedman, Marjorie Stone, Kate Worsley and many more).
2002 | John Kelly, Ph.D., former Director of Conservation Science at Audubon Canyon Ranch for his work on local and regional conservation issues, and serving on the Tomales Bay Watershed Council and the Tomales Bay Advisory Committee.
2003 | Ed Ueber, former sanctuary manager (Gulf of the Farallones, Cordell Bank) with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been integral to ocean management and policy since the 1970s.
2004 | Jules Evens, naturalist, author of the Natural History of the Point Reyes Peninsula, and former EAC Board Chair who was instrumental in securing international RAMSAR protection for Tomales Bay.
2005 | Peter M. Douglas (d. April 1, 2012), guardian of the state's 1,100-mile-long coastline who battled to preserve its natural beauty and public access to its beaches through California's landmark coastal protection law (Coastal Act of 1976), and as the chief executive of the California Coastal Commission, the powerful regulatory agency he helped create.
2006 | Sarah Allen, Ph.D., Science Program Lead for the National Park Service/Pacific West Region, and former Science Lead at Point Reyes National Seashore for her efforts to share marine resources.
2007 | Gary Knoblock, senior program officer for the Environment Program at S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, and former executive director at Point Reyes National Seashore Association who was instrumental in raising and managing funds for the Giacomini Wetlands Restoration Project.
2008 | Salmon Protection and Watershed Network (SPAWN), who work to protect endangered salmon in the Lagunitas Watershed and the West Marin environment.
2009 | Robert Berner, former executive director for Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) for protecting Marin Farms for 28 Years.
2010 | Amy Meyer, activist, author and "Mother of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area".
2011 | Nona B. Dennis, 40-year career as an environmental consultant, educator and author with expertise ranging from environmental impact assessment and wetlands ecology to habitat restoration and environmental management.
2012 | Catherine Caufield, former executive director of EAC, and consultant for the Tomales Dunes Program.
2013 | L. Martin "Marty" Griffin, Jr., environmentalist, conservationist, and author who has been widely honored for his decades of environmental work in helping to preserve numerous sensitive wildlife habitats in Sonoma and Marin County.
2014 | Cicely Muldoon, National Park Service superintendent at Point Reyes National Seashore for her leadership in protecting our coastal resources.
2015 | Jared Huffman, 2nd District California Congressman, who served six years in the California State Assembly where he authored more than 60 pieces of successful legislation and received numerous awards for his legislative leadership. Huffman chaired the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, served on the Budget Committee and was co-chair of the Legislative Environmental Caucus.
2016 | Charles Lester, former California Coastal Commission (fourth executive director of the agency from 2011 to 2016), who has worked in the field of coastal management for more than 25 years, researching and writing about sea level rise, coastal resilience, and other aspects of California coastal law and policy.
2017 | Sharon Farrell, Associate Director of Park Projects at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in recognition of her work to build One Tam into a model for land management and stewardship based on science, cooperation, and public engagement, her involvement in the large-scale restoration projects in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and for her passion and commitment to inspiring young people to care for our shared public lands.
2018 | Mia Monroe, National Park Service Park Ranger and Marin Community Liaison, former EAC Board Member, and Piper on the Ridge coordinator for her local legacy of environmental protection and education in Marin.
2019 | Jean Berensmeier, Details Coming Soon