Working for lands, people, and communities
Board of Directors
- Tim Ramirez, President – San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Natural Resources and Lands Management Division Manager
- Laura Rodriguez, Vice President and Secretary – Justice Outside, Chief Program Officer
- Noelle Chambers, Treasurer – Peninsula Open Space Trust, Vice President of Conservation
- Ana Ruiz, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, General Manager
- Andrea Mackenzie, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, General Manager
- Annie Burke, TOGETHER Bay Area, Executive Director, ex-officio board member
- Blanca Hernández, YES! Nature to Neighborhoods, Program Director
- Jose Setka, East Bay Municipal Utilities District, Environmental Affairs Officer
- Lisa Baldinger, East Bay Regional Park District, Legislative Analyst
- Max Korten, Marin County Parks and Open Space District, General Manager
Annie Burke, Executive Director
Annie brings people together to achieve shared goals. Her skills and experience are in coalition building, strategy, communications, convening, and fundraising. Annie led the Bay Area Open Space Council’s convening program, fundraising, and communications from 2010-2017. Prior to that she worked for large and small nonprofits in various fundraising and organizational development capacities. She has produced three films about partnerships between Indigenous Tribes and conservation organizations (Here & Now, Dancing in the Balance, and Umunhum). She led a family-nature group called Outside Kids, and continues to write about ways to get kids into nature. Annie has a masters in Organization Development from University of San Francisco and a B.A. in psychology from Denison University. She completed two National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) courses. Annie grew up playing at Pescadero State Beach, running the trails at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, and listening to the Giants on the radio.
cell: 510 333 7367
Ariana Rickard, Political Director
Ariana loves organizing people around a shared passion. In 2020, she cofounded an environmental professionals of color group in the Bay Area, EnviroPros de Color, to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion within the Bay Area’s environmental community. She
cell: 925 354 6764
Tom Robinson, Conservation Lands Network project lead
As Principal of Tom Robinson Consulting, Tom directs the Conservation Lands Network project for TOGETHER Bay Area and assists non-profits and municipalities plan for landscape health and climate adaptation. Tom is passionate about increasing the pace and scale of solutions to environmental and societal challenges. He led Sonoma Veg Map and Conservation Lands Network 2.0, and team-developed the Bay Area Greenprint. He holds a bachelor’s degree in ecology from U.C. San Diego, a master’s degree in geographic information science from San Francisco State University, and is a Switzer Environmental Leadership Fellow.
LaSaundra Scott, Executive Assistant
As a nonprofit virtual assistant with The More Than Giving Company, LaSaundra enjoys serving as a conduit for business organization and communication. She assists the TOGETHER Bay Area behind the scenes, allowing the organization to focus on what matters most: saving and healing our lands. She earned a B.A. from Louisiana State University. And when she’s not working, she may be found reading a good book accompanied by a glass of sweet tea.
Our mission is to be the champion and regional voice of the resilient lands that are integral to a thriving Bay Area and all people who live here.
Our vision is a Bay Area that is home to healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy communities where we address the impacts of climate change through collaboration. We live in a just and equitable society where we live in relationship with the land that sustains us now and will sustain future generations.
Our Framework for Justice, Equity, and Belonging guides how the Board, staff, and members of TOGETHER Bay Area participate in the organization’s governance, operations, and programs such that we center equity, work for justice, and ensure that everyone belongs.
This coalition stands on the shoulders of the Bay Area Open Space Council. The Council was formed in 1990 by a group of visionary leaders who believed we could achieve more if we worked together. The Council:
- Helped form the Bay Area Program of the California Coastal Conservancy in 1997 and shape and pass state-wide bond measures which resulted in almost $400 million in funding for 700+ projects and programs in the region.
- Led the creation of the regional conservation strategy called the Conservation Lands Network, first version 1.0 in 2011, a progress update in 2014, and version 2.0 in 2019.
- Incubated Transit and Trails, a trip planning app that encourages the use of public transit to get outdoors.
- Convened the annual Open Space Conference and quarterly Gatherings. See photos.
- Facilitated relationship-building and information-sharing across the region which resulted in increased capacity, innovation, and impact.
The Council went through a significant transition in 2018-2019 which you can read about here and here. Aleta George from the Bay Area Monitor wrote this article in May 2021. Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, East Bay Regional Park District, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Marin County Parks, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and Sonoma Ag and Open Space District provided critical funding for the transition. A 16-member Planning Committee provided visionary leadership and critical thinking at five meetings and in countless emails. And hundreds of Bay Area leaders participated in the planning process through input sessions, surveys, and interviews.
We are grateful to everyone’s contributions to this regional coalition in the past and today.