Today, the shortest day of the year, we invite you to join us on a tour. A tour, you say? But how? This is a virtual tour of the Open Space Council in 2011. The past year has been full of big visions, announcements, partnerships, and cool stuff like iPhone apps. Will you and your mouse join us as we click through 2011? Come along...
First stop on the tour is January. We started 2011 with over 100 people to talk about climate change. Our Rainy Season Gathering was held at the Brower Center and featured speakers from Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Save the Redwoods and others. We didn't debate the science of climate change but rather talked about what is actually being done to adapt to it. Read about it here and here.
February was full of love. The mobile app kind of love. In February we launched the iPhone app for Transit and Trails. Imagine you're going for a hike. Is there a change of plans? Did the weather shift from clouds to rain on your hike? Now you can view your route and how to get home in a flash on your iPhone.
Are you ready for this stop on the tour?! It's a big one. It's March!
Our most popular Gathering yet was held at the Log Cabin in San Francisco's Presidio in March. The topic was Grazing & Conservation : Ranchers & Environmentalists and maybe you can guess why so many people attended. It sold out 2 weeks beforehand. Did you know that there are over 30 land-managing agencies in the Bay Area who have grazing on their lands? Click here and here to learn more about this complex subject.
Also in March we launched the Conservation Lands Network! Over 5 years, dozens of organizations, scientists of all kinds, and a healthy serving of creativity led to the map, Explorer, GIS datasets, brochure and full report. There's a great article about it in Bay Nature magazine which sums the whole thing up much better than we can in this blog post.
Not to jump head too much, but the Conservation Lands Network was all over the Bay Area this year. City and County planning departments, transportation agencies, Boards of Directors, nonprofit land trusts, and more heard a presentation about the Conservation Lands Network. It showed up in press releases and was included in funding requests. Here are some of the highlights.
March also brought the launch of the Living Landscape Initiative. Five members of the Open Space Council are working closely together to have significant impact on the counties of San Mateo-Santa Clara-Santa Cruz. We don't want to get ahead of ourselves but this group had a very big and very exciting announcement in December.
It's April! Spring was in the air! Even if it was a rainy spring it still felt like spring. We partnered with the Bay Area Ridge Trail for a hike from Richmond to Orinda on April 2. Did you know that you can actually hike from Richmond to Orinda? And use BART and AC Transit to get there and home? You can. We did. Click here to read all about it.
Spring goes by fast and here we are at May. The 12th annual Open Space Conference was held at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio. The theme was 'health' and we talked about all kinds of health: healthy people, healthy parks, and healthy communities. The room was packed with more than 300 people and some fun was had in our photo booth.
Also in May and the first part of June we held two workshops in Marin County called Community Bridges. With support from the Marin Community Foundation, we brought together park agencies, outdoor education providers and others who are interested in partnerships, funding collaborations and how we can better connect young people to the outdoors. Here's a quick synopsis.
We're half way done with this tour. How's everyone doing?
Welcome to June. On the longest Saturday of the year a group of people rode their bikes to the tops of Mount Hamilton, Mount Tamalpais and Mount Diablo in one day using public transit to get between the three mountains. It's the Triple Threat! And it's a demonstration of how incredible the Bay Area is with our parks, trails, and open spaces and the buses, ferries, and trains that connect them all. Read the play-by-play of the ride here.
In the words of one of the riders: ""The Triple Threat was an awesome experience: one that should be on the 'bucket list' of any cycling enthusiast and that I will be promoting amongst friends and at other cycling events!"
July is that beautiful time of year when energy is high and the Bay Area's microclimates are at their extremes. We held our Fog Gathering - respectfully named after the weather pattern many Bay Area residents associate with July - at the Brower Center and discussed transportation and sustainable communities. All of our work on parks, trails, farms, forests, and other open spaces fit into this very metropolitan region. Sometimes the fit is comfortable, and sometimes it's hard to see how these two worlds can coexist. The panel talked about what partnerships are happening, what's happening on a policy level, and how we all can get involved. Read more about it here.
Ah, August. Let's all take a deep breath right about now. That's what the Open Space Council did in August. Ommm....
Now that you're all relaxed, let's go to September! What does $263,000,000 have to do with land conservation in the Bay Area? A lot! It's the amount of bond funding that the Coastal Conservancy has brought to the region through the Bay Program. Our September Gathering at the Log Cabin in San Francisco featured Sam Schuchat and Amy Hutzel to talk about the many accomplishments of the Bay Program and the future of the Restoration Authority. Read all about it, including the presentations, here.
Here we are in October. Can you feel it? The light is changing and pumpkins are showing up on front porches. There was good news from Sacramento, a series on our blog about climate change (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four), and the full report of the Conservation Lands Network was available for download. The Open Space Council went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to attend the Land Trust Alliance's Rally and present to full rooms about the Conservation Lands Network and Transit and Trails. We know you and your mouse love pictures so here are some from Milwaukee.
Next up is November of course. First, we launched the 2011 version of the Bay Area Protected Areas Database. We've been doing this with GreenInfo Network for years and it tell us where the protected lands are in the Bay Area (bet you could have figured that one out). You can download the database here.
Next, we collaborated with Bay Nature magazine and SAGE on an event entitled Urban Gardens to Open Range: The Present and Future of Bay Area Food Landscapes. A great panel discussed the hard work involved in producing local, organic and sustainable food. Pictures can be seen here and an article about the event can be read here.
Finally in November, over 100 people filled the room at the Brower Center for a conversation about the State Parks closures (some call them 'abandonments'). It was our 5th Gathering of the year and yet another example of the power of partnership. The panel talked about ways in which they're working together with new and long-time partners to deal with something we've never faced before. Read all about it here and click on the picture below for a slideshow.
At the Gathering we watched this short film. Have you seen it?
Whew, the first 11 months of 2011 were full. We have just one more month to go. Ready?
Also this month the Open Space Council has been looking forward to 2012. We'll host another 5 Gatherings, starting on January 19 on cultural relevancy. Our Open Space Conference will be on May 10. The Triple Threat will be bigger and viral on June 16. We will launch an Adroid app for Transit and Trails. And more that we can't reveal yet. We have lots of ideas and even more passion. 2012 is going to be fun.
We are very grateful to all of who have contributed financially to the Open Space Council in the past year. You can see who these amazing individuals, member organizations, foundations, companies, and agencies are here. Would you like to join them? We'd love to have you. Click here to be a part of it all.
Finally, from the Open Space Council to you... we wish you a very Happy Winter Solstice and a winter filled with light.
This is our last blog post of 2011. All this talk about parks and trails, local food and open space, makes us feel a little restless. We need to go outside. Have happy holidays and we'll see you again in January.