Winter news and notes: new website, women’s environmental leadership, botanical garden

 In Arts and Culture, Community, Conservation, Environment

Over the past weekend, an atmospheric river streamed through California bringing with it copious amounts of rainfall and snow, even closing Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park. The rain gave me the opportunity to catch up on some reading and continue with my planning for the year ahead. In this winter edition of “news and notes” I feature the launch of my new website, a profile of San Francisco Botanical Garden Society and the latest from Women’s Environmental Network, including an opportunity to join us for an event featuring women in leadership positions at the intersection of conservation and philanthropy. Read on!

New year, new website

I am proud to announce a brand new website redesign. If you were familiar with the old site, you have probably noticed that things look a little different around here. The new site is home to this blog as well as descriptions of projects I have been proud to support in recent years including outdoor leadership programs for youth, conservation science, the creation of a new Bay Area news ecosystem, and a retreat for writers focused on “ideas at the edge” of nature, human economy, and social equity.

A black-necked stilt and a ring-billed gull

The landing page on my new website features a photo (above) taken by my dad on a birding field trip to the Salton Sea. I chose this image of a black-necked stilt and a ring-billed gull, two distinctively different wetland-loving birds, because in my work in the social and environmental sectors, I have found that no two issues are alike and no two organizations are alike. Experience is key to effective problem solving, but when you are making a case for support for an issue and an organization, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Women’s Environmental Leadership

Women's Environmental NetworkOver the last few months I have continued to work with fellow Women’s Environmental Network board members to usher in a new era for a long-lived organization that turns 20 in 2017. At the end of 2016, we received our first capacity-building grant to grow our organization. WEN seeks to do more to support women’s leadership development in the environmental sector and to unite women’s voices across the Bay Area to drive change. With this new grant, our next steps are to create a strategic business plan and to grow our network and community as we prepare to achieve our expanded vision and goals. I will update this blog with our progress.

WEN also proudly features members of our community in “Spotlights” and on our blog. This month, we are honored to shine the light on journalist Mary Ellen Hannibal, whose latest book is “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.” Mary Ellen also wrote a blog post for WEN on how the community get can more involved with citizen science projects in the Bay Area.

If you would like to learn more about WEN, please join us at future events, including a talk on January 24 in San Francisco by board member Suzanne York on multi-sector approaches that link women, health and their environment to problem solving. On March 9 join us for a career panel co-sponsored by Island Conservation featuring women in leadership positions at the intersection of conservation and philanthropy.

Featured client: San Francisco Botanical Garden Society

Magnolia campbellii 'Darjelling'. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Magnolia campbellii ‘Darjelling’. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Since 1955, San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has been building communities of support for the San Francisco Botanical Garden, a world class living museum. As a part of the historical group of museums and cultural institutions in the east end of Golden Gate Park, the 55-acre Garden instills a deeper understanding of the necessity to respect the environment and conserve Earth’s biological diversity.

Plant conservation

The Garden is home to more than 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world, with almost 30 percent of the species wild-collected and many rare and endangered. For example, the golden fuchsia, a native of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, was saved from extinction through cultivation at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and two other U.S. botanical gardens. The Andean Cloud Forest at the Garden is known for being the most comprehensive collection of high elevation palm species known in any botanical garden in the world. The Garden is also known for featuring one of the world’s most significant collections of magnolia species for conservation purposes. Magnolia season officially begins this Friday, January 13.

Botanical art

If you go to visit the magnolias, you should also stop in at the Library of Horticulture to see the new art exhibit featuring botanical illustrator Rachel Diaz-Bastin. The exhibit, Beautiful Relationships: Flora and Fauna from Around the World, features vibrant colored pencil illustrations of plants and animals from tropical and Mediterranean habitats worldwide. Everyone is warmly invited to join the Garden Society for the artist’s reception on Thursday, January 12, from 5-7 pm to meet the artist and enjoy wine, appetizers, and good company.

Rare butterfly

With a winter visit to the Garden you might also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of a California Pipevine swallowtail butterfly chrysalis overwintering in the California native garden. Tim Wong, an avid volunteer at the Garden, says, “You’ll need a keen eye to spot the 1.5″ chrysalis that come in shades of brown, purple, yellow, and green.”

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