Ruskin Hartley’s most recent and final blog for Save the Redwoods League was titled “Bracing for Rain” and anticipated the Bay Area’s first wet weather of the season. Ruskin’s resignation from his position as the League’s Executive Director led me to make numerous phone calls to other conservation organizations and to governmental conservation agencies. While making the calls, I felt myself bracing for something… but I was not sure what.
The responses to this news were remarkably uniform. In one breath, I heard our colleagues express respect for Ruskin and his accomplishments on behalf of the League. In the next breath, these colleagues expressed their admiration for the quality and breadth of our current projects: the 8,500 acre Santa Cruz Mountains conservation easement, our work with park staff and local non-profits to improve facilities and the visitor experience at three redwood state parks, our ongoing support for restoration work at Mill Creek in Jedediah Smith State Park, and our cutting-edge scientific research regarding redwoods and climate change.
To borrow a baseball term (particularly appropriate as we still bask in the excitement of the SF Giants World Series victory), there is great bench at the League. Our Board of Directors are committed and focused on their oversight and policy roles. Our 60-member Council provides a steady supply of committed, experienced committee and task force members who lend their support and expertise. And our staff of experienced conservation professionals work tirelessly in our San Francisco office and also travel the entire range of the redwoods to accomplish our work.
I will miss working with Ruskin. We developed a fine working relationship in our 18 months together. And I am honored that the Board asked me to step in as chief executive to this extraordinary organization. Collectively, the Board, the Councilors, and the staff will continue to implement focused strategies to fulfill our mission to save the redwoods.
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