MAY 10 – 13, 2021
“I was uplifted to learn that there are so many people doing amazing work. For me, the summit highlighted that this is a new day. This is not yesterday’s environmental / conservation movement. This is a whole new approach and it’s exciting!”
~ 2021 Spring Summit attendee
This 3-day event consisted of multiple ways for attendees to interact with speakers and colleagues.
Find The Endangered Species CHALLENGE
Black Abalone, Salt-marsh Harvest Mice, San Francisco Garter Snakes, and Bay Checkerspot Butterflies found their way into presentations, and Shalini Kannan found them all! Ms. Kannan won this prize:
Immersive tide pooling tour for up to 8 people, led by TOGETHER Bay Area member California Academy of Sciences marine biologists and Co-Directors of Community Science, Rebecca Johnson and Alison Young.
Social Monarch Butterfly CHALLENGE
Participation was the name of the game, and Francis Mendoza and Mike Kahn both won! The prizes for this challenge are:
Prize #2: An experience for 4 people at Stephen Joseph’s Photographic Gallery at Summit Ranch in Alamo, courtesy of TOGETHER Bay Area member Save Mount Diablo. Stephen Joseph will give the tour himself and speak about what inspires his photography. Also included is a signed copy of his new book, A Story of Place and Inspiration, for each person.
“I loved the energy DJ Ome brought into the session intros and the authenticity of all presentations”
~ 2021 Spring Summit attendee
MONDAY MAY 10 from 10:00-11:00am
Opening Session: Welcome to the 2021 Spring Summit (Inter)Action
ALL ARE WELCOME as we kick off the 2021 Spring Summit! We’ll orient you to the online conference space, and give you a tour of all the ways you can interact with speakers and fellow attendees. Our speakers will set the stage for the conversations and explorations we have planned for you, including how we collaborate for healthy lands, people, and communities.
- Chairwoman Charlene Nijmeh and Councilmember Monica Arellano, Muwékma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area
- Bryce Savoy, The Black Neighborhood
- Tom Robinson, Conservation Lands Network
MONDAY MAY 10 from 11:30-12:30
Community Conversation: INNOVATION DURING CRISES
TOGETHER Bay Area members have risen to the challenges of the past year through innovation and collaboration. Join us for 8 short, high-energy, participatory presentations about innovative projects led by 8 different organizations. Then, break into groups to learn more about the presentation that intrigues you the most. You’ll leave energized with new information and new contacts.
Learn about innovative projects from these TOGETHER Bay Area members:
- Relief through a Pandemic with YES Nature to Neighborhood,
- 100 Jobs to Feed People and Sustain the Planet with Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE)
- Diablo Range Revealed with Save Mount Diablo
- Parks Equity Action Team: Catalyst for Change & Embracing the Hard with Santa Clara County Parks
- Immersive Community Engagement for Coyote Valley Master Planning with Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority
- Bringing Oakland Residents’ Park Experiences and Perspectives into Policy, Advocacy, and Planning through Grassroots Survey with Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation
- Leveraging partnerships to bridge a long-standing Bay Trail gap with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
- Shoreline Restoration and Community Access in Bay Point, California with East Bay Regional Parks District
MONDAY MAY 10 from 1:00-2:00pm
Community Conversation: SHAPING A NEW FIRE PARADIGM
One of the things 2020 made abundantly clear is that we need to rethink our relationship with fire. The old paradigm of suppressing it, of thinking that we need to fight it, is over. How do we describe a new paradigm? What are the words we can use? How do we center and lift up and value Indigenous people, culture, and knowledge about living with fire? How do we work across landscapes, jurisdictions, and organizations, with respect for all living things?
Participate in this big-picture conversation where we can talk about “what if” kind of questions. It’s a chance to imagine what could be, and to do so with colleagues around the region so that the ideas can spread and a new paradigm be co-created by many people.
With Chairman Valentin Lopez, Amah Mutsun Tribal Band
TUESDAY MAY 11 from 1:00-2:00pm
Community Conversation: WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
TOGETHER Bay Area has been championing an integrated approach to the challenges we face today. Join us for a conversation on the connection between economic recovery and climate change. We’ll address legislation that supports this integrated approach to the interrelated challenges of racism and inequality, climate change and wildfires, the COVID-19 pandemic and workforce development.
With Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin, District 22
TUESDAY, MAY 11 from 4:00-5:00pm
Community Conversation: LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID – ADVANCING ANTI-RACISM FOR PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC LANDS
Let’s talk about how the current crises intersect with one another. In this conversation with Rohan Radhakrishna, who was appointed by Governor Newsom to the Office of Health Equity with CA Department of Public Health, we’re going to start with racism and how it shows up in how we advance public lands as an essential service for public health. What are the lessons learned from the past year? How do we implement them? What internal work do we need to do individually, and what do we need to do organizationally? Join us for a conversation as we explore this transformational moment together.
With Rohan Radhakrishna MD, MPH, MS, Deputy Director, Office of Health Equity, California Department of Public Health
THURSDAY MAY 13 from 10:00-11:00am
Community Conversation: COMMUNITY & AGENCY PARTNERSHIPS
Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) are vital in meeting the current national moment with integrity. But how do we put these intentions into action? How can we build authentic partnerships between public agencies and community-based organizations? How can we rethink community connections so that we manifest real change, not greater inequities?
Our panelists will share lessons from equitable partnerships that serve communities affected by COVID-19 and other crises. You’ll be invited to engage in a conversation with the speakers in small groups about how to align our goals, values, and actions.
- Liz Darby, Marin County Parks
- Blanca Hernández, YES Nature to Neighborhoods
- Sedrick Mitchell, CA State Parks
- Jeannette Tuitele-Lewis, Big Sur Land Trust
- Kevin Wright, Marin County Parks – facilitator
THURSDAY MAY 13 from 4:00-5:00pm
Closing Session and Essential Celebration
EVERYONE IS INVITED to our closing session and celebration! Winners of the Endangered Species and Social Monarch Butterfly Challenges will be announced.
And we’ll celebrate all of us! Join us for an Essential Celebration to honor TOGETHER Bay Area’s members‘ contributions over the past year in response to the multiple crises we’re facing. Our members have provided essential services like keeping parks open during COVID, providing locations for COVID testing and vaccination sites, and supplied locally grown food and clean drinking water for our communities. They have been on the front lines of responding to and recovering from the August 2020 wildfires that burned over 500,000 acres in the Bay Area. And together we’ve welcomed millions of visitors to the 1.1milion acres of public land in the region. And so much more.
With California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot
Monica V. Arellano
Monica V. Arellano is presently serving as the Tribal Vice Chairwoman for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. She also represents the Tribe on the State of California’s Native American Heritage Commission’s Most Like Descendant list, when ancestral heritage sites are encountered during construction projects. Monica protects the Tribe’s aboriginal and religious rights while caring for the proper and respectful treatment of their ancestral remains and cultural artifacts. She is also co-author on many archaeological reports regarding the Tribe’s ancestral heritage sites. Monica is one of the founding Members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe Language Committee and is proactive in restoring her Tribe’s Muwekma Ohlone Language, while also working on interpretive museum displays and various publications about her Tribe’s 10,000-year history and heritage. She has the authority and privilege to issue Land Acknowledgments and public Welcoming Declarations to Muwekma’s Ancestral Land on behalf of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.
All of Monica’s paternal Ohlone ancestors were missionized into the Mission San Jose and Mission Dolores. Her lineage is descended from her (four-greats)-grandmother Efrena Quennatole (born 1797) who was of the Carquin Ohlone/Napian Tribe (Northern San Francisco Bay) and her (four-greats)-grandfather, Liberato Culpecse (born 1787), baptized at Mission Dolores in 1801 and who was of the Jalquin/Yrgin Ohlone Tribe of the greater Hayward/Castro Valley/San Lorenzo/San Leandro and south Oakland area.
Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot
Wade Crowfoot was appointed California’s Natural Resources Secretary by Governor Gavin Newsom in January 2019. Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency of 19,000 employees who protect and manage California’s natural resources. This includes the state’s forests and natural lands, rivers and waterways, coast and ocean, fish and wildlife, and energy development. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on natural resources and environmental issues.
Secretary Crowfoot believes good natural resources management helps natural places thrive and allows communities and our economy to prosper. His key priorities include:
- Building California’s resilience to climate change-driven threats, including wildfire, drought, flooding and sea-level rise.
- Expanding access to parks, natural places and outdoor recreation for all Californians.
- Preserving California’s world-renowned biodiversity of plants and animals.
Prior to leading the Natural Resources Agency, Crowfoot served as chief executive officer of the Water Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropy that builds shared water solutions across the American West. Before that Crowfoot served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration as deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Governor. He also previously served as West Coast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund and a senior environmental advisor to then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Secretary Crowfoot received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1996 and earned a master’s degree in public policy from the London School of Economics in 2004, graduating with honors.
A native of Michigan, Crowfoot grew up spending his summers outdoors at a YMCA camp and at his family’s remote cabin in Northern Ontario. Upon moving to California in the mid-1990s, he became an avid hiker and backpacker and marks his first time in the redwoods at Big Basin State Park as one of his defining California moments. Now he spends his time outside of work hiking and camping with his wife, Lisa, and their young daughter.
Liz Darby joined the County of Marin in January of 2015 as the Social Equity Program and Policy Coordinator. As part of the Community Development Agency, Liz’s work focuses on furthering fair housing and supporting the County’s equity initiatives to address disparities and barriers that limit access and opportunities to basic needs, housing, education and employment.
Since March 2020, Liz has been a community liaison for Marin County’s Health & Human Services, working to address the needs of residents in Marin City throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to Liz joining the County of Marin, she served as the Executive Director for the Marin City Community Development Corporation. Liz has been a Marin resident for over 25 years, and is the mother of 2 adult children.
Blanca Hernández (she/her/hers), Director of Programs & Partnerships at YES! Nature to Neighborhood, uses a strengths-based approach to develops culturally responsive nature-based curriculums and programs that cultivate the leadership of Richmond BIPOC youth and adults. Blanca has a B.A. from the University of San Diego and is a graduate of CompassPoint’s Next Generation Leaders of Color. She has been a panelist and presenter at various convenings including the Children & Nature Network, the North American Association of Environmental Education, and with partners on the importance of creating equitable and inclusive outdoor programs and partnerships. She serves on Healthy Richmond’s Executive and Sustainability Committee, and on the board of directors with the Association of Environmental & Outdoor Educators and TOGETHER Bay Area. Her self-care practices include painting, writing, and jogging with her dog, Bo.
Ome Quetzal Lopez
Since they began DJing in 1999 Omedj has become known for their infectious energetic stage presence & an eclectic pallet in song selections. Ome has been described as “the Peoples DJ’ having DJed alongside political leaders such as Ilhan Omar, Stacey Abrams, and Dolores Huerta as well as celebrity actors Keegan Michael Keys, Hasan Minhaj & Eva Langoria. Ome has performed and emceed in front of audiences awaiting Grammy-winning artists such as La Santa Cecilia and Little Joe y La Familia to other acclaimed acts like Chicano Batman, Ty Dolla $ign, Las Cafeteras, Saul Williams & Climbing Poetree. In addition to their DJ duties, Ome Quetzal Lopez is also the co-founder of Dulce UpFront, an award-winning multi-media art-activist organization, having produced over one hundred events capturing the attention of thousands of people, working in partnership with a large constellation of artists, activists, event producers, Organizations, and colleges nationwide. In 2018, Ome was awarded Inspirational Queer Activist by Queer Out and highlighted by Rise Up, alongside Alicia Garza & Bambadjan Bamba, as part of the next generation of activists in California who are actively creating and inspiring change on a local and global level. In 2020, Ome was awarded City of Fresno District One Woman of the Year in Arts & Culture.
Chairman Valentin Lopez
Valentin Lopez is the Chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, one of three historic tribes that are recognized as Ohlone. The Amah Mutsun are comprised of the indigenous descendants forcibly taken to Missions San Juan Bautista and Santa Cruz. Chairman Lopez is also the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust which was established in 2012. He is a Native American Advisor to the University of California, Office of the President on issues related to repatriation. He is also a Native American Adviser to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology. The Amah Mutsun are currently working to restore their traditional indigenous knowledge regarding land stewardship so they can return to the path of their ancestors. Consequently, the Amah Mutsun are very active in conservation and protection efforts within their traditional tribal territory. Chairman Lopez is working to restore the Mutsun Language and is a traditional Mutsun singer and dancer.
Sedrick Mitchell is the Deputy Director of Community Engagement, for California State Parks. Appointed by Governors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Brown, Mitchell is responsible for overseeing the general operations of the Division of Grants and Local Services, the Office of Community Involvement, and the Office of Workforce Planning and Recruitment. Under Mr. Mitchell’s guidance the California State Parks has become a national leader in the development of innovative grant and outreach programs.
Additional duties include the development and implementation of the department’s diversity strategy, urban outreach plan, health and wellness initiative, and the management of grant programs in excess of $3.0 billion.
Prior to joining California State Parks, Mr. Mitchell worked for 14 years with the California Legislature where he served as the District Chief of Staff to State Senator Patrick Johnston and as a Senior Consultant to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Mr. Mitchell is a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus and the California Leadership Institute.
He is Executive Boards the National Association of Outdoor Recreation Liaison Officers and the City Parks Alliance. Sedrick has received numerous awards and honors, including recognition from the California State University System as one of their outstanding Alumni.
Sedrick is married and has two children.
California Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin
Kevin Mullin is Speaker pro Tem of the California State Assembly, and has represented San Mateo County since 2012. He was born and raised in San Mateo County and is a 4th generation Californian. His legislative priorities have focused on elections reform and democracy, housing and transportation, and clean energy.
He has authored legislation to obtain rail modernization funding for Caltrain, create the San Mateo County Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency District, and is currently carrying legislation related to climate adaptation planning and joint authoring a climate bond that would rebuild our workforce and protect our state against future climate-related disasters.
He has been a mayor and councilmember in South San Francisco, a small business owner, and television host and commentator. He graduated from Serra High School and the University of San Francisco and has a master’s degree from San Francisco State University. He studied leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and has served as an aide to his political mentors, Congresswoman Jackie Speier when she was a state legislator, and his father, former Assemblymember Gene Mullin.
Kevin and his wife Jessica live in South San Francisco with their twin boys, Liam & Landon and rescue beagle, Sunshine.
Charlene C. Nijmeh
Charlene C. Nijmeh is the chairwoman of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. She is from the Marine-Sanchez lineage that descends from the first peoples of the San Francisco Bay Area. Her ancestors are direct descendants of those peoples brought into the mission system at Santa Clara, Mission San Jose, and Mission Dolores in San Francisco. Charlene began her engagement in Tribal affairs at an early age of 8 when she was exposed to her Tribe’s efforts to repatriate ancestral remains during the early 80’s. The previous Chairwoman (Charlene’s mother) made sure to involve Charlene and other Tribal children and stress the importance of being responsible for our ancestral remains and ancestral lands. As she became a young adult she worked as a Native American Monitor and Field Crew for the Muwekma Ohlone Tribal Cultural Resources Management firm providing Tribal consultation to commercial developers and construction companies, municipalities, county, state and federal agencies on ancestral Muwekma Ohlone heritage village and cemetery sites that included monitoring, mitigation, excavation, removal and relocation of ancestral remains. T
his influence forever shaped her destiny to become a protector to Mother Earth, which led to her involvement in many entrepreneurial enterprises that focused on the environment and environmental education. She founded Green Education Foundation (a 501-C 3 public charity) in 2012 to support local schools in educating our youth on the responsibilities we all have to live a more sustainable life. She continues her role as Chairwoman of Green Education Foundation in addition to running a commercial textile recycling company as CEO that diverts 60 million lbs. every year of textile waste from our nation’s landfills to her company’s plants in Guatemala, Honduras and Ukraine while distributing recycled textiles to dozens of Countries throughout the World.
In 2018, Charlene was elected as Tribal Chairwoman to help lead her people after the retirement of Rosemary Cambra (the previous chair). As chair of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, she represents over 600 tribal members who comprise the Ten lineages of the previously recognized, never terminated Verona Band of Alameda County. Her mother Rosemary Cambra has been an active and persistent advocate of indigenous rights in the San Francisco Bay Area for 40 years and Charlene has worked to carry this legacy and improve the lives of tribal members. She also chairs the board of the Ohlone family consulting services, a corporation devoted towards preserving the material and cultural heritage of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe.
Yakuta was born and raised in India, and her love affair with nature began during her first trek to the Indian Himalayas at the age of fifteen. Since that initiation, she has continued to develop her relationship with the natural world, and has worked with various non-profit organizations in India and the US to educate, inspire, and cultivate love and respect for the environment.
She studied Communications and Media with a focus on social issues at Sophia College in Mumbai, India, which fueled her passion for women’s rights, and environmental, racial and social justice, and gave her the confidence to pursue a life of intention. Yakuta currently works for the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy where she leads the San Francisco Park Stewardship Program and is developing creative programs that focus on inclusion, cultural relevance, mindfulness and healing. She is a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at the Parks Conservancy, and is deeply involved in various initiatives across the park.
When she is not working, you will find her on a trail – either examining a wildflower or in awe of a mountain.
Dr. Rohan C. Radhakrishna
Dr. Radhakrishna was appointed by Governor Newsom to serve as the Deputy Director of the Office of Health Equity at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and be the Tribal Liaison for CDPH since April 2021. He strives to uphold the universal values of love, dignity, and transformation. He believes that inequity in a world of abundance is morally and socially unacceptable. He aims to advance partnerships to change narratives and power structures that stand in the way of a California for All.
Rohan has 20 years of experience learning from and working with impacted communities. He spent 10 years at a local health department most recently serving as Co-Chair of the Health Equity Committee at the California Conference of Local Health Officers since 2019 and Deputy Health Officer at Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) since 2018. His local experience responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, power shutoffs, wildfire smoke, and heat emergencies has solidified his commitment to addressing the overlapping public health crises of climate change and structural racism. He was Chair of the Department of Family and Adult Medicine at CCHS from 2015 to 2019.
Rohan brings a global perspective to California’s diverse population having lived and worked abroad. As a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador from 2002 to 2004 he worked with the Ministry of Health’s Indigenous Health Bureau on disparity elimination regarding nutrition, chronic disease, and maternal-child health. In 2005 he was Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador at Doctors Without Borders. He was a Public Health Consultant with UNICEF in 2006 and the Norwegian Refugee Council in 2007 addressing the health impacts of displacement amongst vulnerable youth via rapid community based participatory research. In 2009 and 2010 he was a Rotary Ambassador Scholar in India focused on rural inequities of chronic disease. His efforts always focus on building healthy communities in partnership with impacted populations.
Rohan graduated from Stanford University (B.A. in Human Biology, Concentration in Cross-Cultural Medicine, and Honors in Latin American Studies), University of California, Berkeley (M.P.H and M.S), Christian Medical College in Vellore, India (certificate in Infectious Disease), and University of California, San Francisco (M.D.).
Tim Ramirez leads the Natural Resources and Lands Management Division within the Water Enterprise at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC). The Division integrates environmental stewardship principles into current and future operations of the SFPUC water supply system and lands management, within the Tuolumne River, Alameda Creek, San Mateo Creek, and Pilarcitos Creek watersheds. Tim is also the President of the Board of Directors for TOGETHER Bay Area.
Previously, he spent six years working as the Assistant Secretary for Water Policy and Science at the California Resources Agency and as the Senior Policy Advisor and Deputy Director for Ecosystem Restoration at the California Bay-Delta Authority. His responsibilities included serving as the State Coordinator for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, and he focused on river systems and the intersection of water supply, ecosystem restoration, water quality, flood protection, and agricultural issues.
Tim earned a M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a M.A. in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and he completed his graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley.
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.
Bryce is an Independent Rapper, Entrepreneur & founding member of The Black Neighborhood, a nationwide non-profit headquartered in his hometown, Oakland, California. The Black Neighborhood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to support Black people in sustaining a productive and self-sufficient lifestyle. Through accessible mentorship for youth, free monthly grocery giveaways for families, holiday giveaways, and social gatherings for young adults, TBN is creating influence & change within the Black community.
Jeannette Tuitele-Lewis became Big Sur Land Trust’s President and CEO in October of 2014. Prior to coming to BSLT, she worked for Sierra Foothill Conservancy for five years as executive director, following three years as development and outreach director. During her tenure, the organization doubled its operations capacity, reached a milestone of 25,000 acres of conserved lands, and became Land Trust Alliance accredited.
Born in California, Jeannette split much of her youth between the West Coast and the Pacific Islands. Her earliest outdoor memories include long days at the beach while living on Guam. Her teen years were spent exploring the oak woodlands of California’s Solano County. These experiences sparked a lifelong passion for land conservation and the study of the relationship between land and people.
Upon graduating from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with a botany degree, Jeannette worked in the American Samoan Islands for the Community and Natural Resources Division. There she documented medicinal uses of plants by traditional healers, worked with local farmers to promote non-timber forest products, and coordinated village tree plantings in areas devastated by recent hurricanes. She received her master’s degree in forest science from Oregon State University, where her studies integrated ecological analysis, agroforestry, and land tenure systems. Following graduate school, Jeannette worked as a forest science technician, collecting data on old growth forests across the Pacific Northwest.
Jeannette serves on the board of the California Council of Land Trusts and on the national Leadership Council of the Land Trust Alliance. She is also an alumnus of the Center for Whole Communities. She spends her free time exploring coastal lands with her husband, Jamie, and their two young children, Amaelia and Malae. She also maintains her Pacific Island connections and occasionally advises on projects in the region.
Fresh off of a tour of duty supporting the COVID-19 vaccine effort in Marin County, Kevin Wright manages partnerships, park funding, legislation, and strategic community initiatives for Marin County Parks and the Marin County Open Space District. Mr. Wright coordinates partnerships with a variety of state, regional, and local governments and community-based organizations to strengthen efforts promoting parks and public health, park funding, equity and inclusion, and community outreach and engagement. He is a diversity and inclusion trainer for the County of Marin, Steering Committee member of the California Landscape Stewardship Network, and proud participant in the TOGETHER Bay Area Policy Committee.
Sponsors as of May 2, 2021