Happy New Year 2014

 In Community

Northern elephant seal at Point Reyes National Seashore

As the year comes to a close the northern elephant seals are returning to Point Reyes National Seashore. It is a time for ritual. Over the last few weeks I have been looking back at photos and my project logs for highlights from 2013.

First, as a nonprofit development consultant and grant writer, I am very fortunate to work with dedicated and inspiring people who are changing lives, advocating for justice and protecting the natural world. This year I continued to work with Outward Bound California and Fresh Lifelines for Youth (“FLY”). I also welcomed new partnerships with Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, Northwest Outward Bound School and Mills College.

In 2013, I also continued on my quest to dig up stories about California State Parks as they undergo a period of reinvention after the major crisis that hit in 2011. I learned from archaeologists, Native Californians, park rangers, park leaders and ardent volunteers while writing for BayNature.org as a contributor and the Bay Area Open Space Council as a guest blogger.

Early in the year I became a volunteer for a Bay Area puma study, which has me tasked with monitoring “camera traps” in a remote Marin watershed. After spying on the nocturnal lives of bobcats, coyotes, foxes, deer – and one puma! – I have gained an even greater appreciation for our local wild places.

My husband and I also ventured beyond the Bay Area’s beautiful trails and open spaces to spend time in our other favorite California parks – including Yosemite National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. Our biggest adventure of the year was a bicycling trip in the United Kingdom, where we rode, over the hills and faraway, from Edinburgh, Scotland to York, England. Though it could be said that the wet and windy weather in the UK is not cycling friendly, nonetheless the region boasts an impressive bicycling network that covers 14,000 miles.

UK Cycle Network in historic northern England

Behind the UK cycling network is Sustrans.org – a UK charity that has been a “catalyst for reversing the decline in walking and cycling for almost 20 years” by establishing cycle routes, training kids to ride and maintain their bikes and by launching campaigns to make roads safer for all users.

Now on to 2014. I hope the new year brings you great joy, new wisdom and success!

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