SRT Mission Advances Celebrating 20 years of achievement
“The river moves from land to water to land, in and out of organisms, reminding us what Native people have never forgotten: that you cannot separate the land from the water, or the people from the land.”
- LYNN CULBREATH NOEL
SRT Mission Advances Celebrating 20 years of achievement in protecting land and water, serving land and people
LEFT: SRT’S BLUE OAK RANCH PRESERVE BLOOMS IN SPRING.
PARTNERS for GOOD Dear Friends, I am pleased to celebrate more than 20 years of Sequoia Riverlands Trust’s (SRT) actions to protect the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley. SRT continues to thrive because of your ongoing support and we are grateful. As we approach the end of 2021, the challenges of COVID, racial reckoning, and political and social division in our nation could lead to pessimism. SRT provides an example of how collaborative efforts involving citizens, farmers and ranchers, nonprofits, businesses, and public agencies can overcome divisive forces and bring people together. Our collaborative efforts include several important accomplishments: • SRT now manages more than 44,000 acres of land in nine counties in the San Joaquin Valley and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. • By adapting to the realities and challenges of COVID, SRT was able to continue its EARTH Academy program which helps Tulare County high school students to understand their local environment and gain hands-on experience by working with environmental professionals. • SRT and its partners provided important support for two important pieces of legislation: The Great American
Outdoors Act and The America’s Conservation Enhancement Act. • We continue to play an active role in the most important planning and policy issues confronting the San Joaquin Valley, in contexts including transportation policy, land use, and groundwater sustainability. With your support, we will continue our mission: improving the quality of life in the San Joaquin Valley by seeking solutions to its most pressing environmental challenges. Gratefully,
Rod Meade, Chair SRT Board of Directors
RESILIENCY NOW Year in Review: 2020 In the conservation field, SRT envisions a future born of a resiliency that benefits land, people, and wildlife. We think long-term about natural habitats and healthy working landscapes, an approach that is ingrained in our mindset.
• Expanded our protected lands to include more than 44,000 acres throughout California • Maintained Platinum status from GuideStar nonprofit ratings •Expanded our social media audience and digital reach
In contrast, 2020 brought simultaneous crises whose enormity demanded our immediate focus: The doublepunches of pandemic and economic meltdown; social and political tensions; groundwater and climate sustainability challenges; and profound questions about finding a viable path forward for conservation.
Reflecting our deeply-held values of adaptability and sound stewardship--rooted in true concern for the places we love and the people we serve--SRT finished the year on solid financial ground. Encouragingly, we ended the fiscal year with nine percent growth in year-over-year net assets, proof that SRT is responsive to market conditions as varied and complicated as 2020 could dole out.
Among its many tough lessons, the year 2020 made very clear that the time for resiliency is right now. Sequoia Riverlands Trust has weathered all those storms above and come out stronger. Adversity taught us new lessons that resulted in some very positive developments and continued growth. Here are a few highlights from the many mission advances SRT saw in 2020: •Hosted thousands of visitors and attendees at SRT nature preserves, events, and virtual gatherings •Welcomed new donors to support SRT’s mission of inspiring love and lasting protection for important lands
We continued to provide the public a much-needed place to enjoy a firsthand experience of nature, and educated them on safe use while so many outdoor alternatives remained closed. We expanded our welcome to the public, progressing toward opening new places and extending hours of access. We provided thousands of annual visitors places to get outside for physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing during some of the most difficult imaginable times. Safety unknowns at the outset of the pandemic required that we close SRT preserves briefly, however we were quickly able to re-establish public access for recreation, reflection, and many other uses.
Total participants SRT education and volunteer programs in 2020
Number of acres conserved by SRT since its founding in 2000.
L E A R N I N G I N N AT U R E
Number of education departments we worked with across two counties
Number of SRT EARTH Academy graduates who completed the program--despite COVID-19
Number of conservation easements SRT has completed since 2000
A healthy and flexible staff and board committed anew to social equity, diversity and inclusion, and celebrated the beginnings of a new era of leadership energies. But we didn’t accomplish all that alone. SRT’s many community partners supported our efforts, and a strong professional network positioned SRT very well as we entered our third decade, drawing on the numerous successes of our first two. The United States Environmental Protection Agency once again provided major funding of $100,000 for SRT’s EARTH Academy, strengthening our ability to educate coming generations of high school students about their role in protecting the land.
One of the most evocative and surprising consequences of the pandemic occurred when cities––emptied of workers by the lockdown––found themselves quickly re-colonized by wildlife that reclaimed ground once its domain. Given a chance, many species are resilient, a reminder that we humans, too, are a species able to change and grow and thrive despite some very difficult circumstances. We look forward to joining with you to bring that resiliency to bear on our cause every day, always, and of course, right now.
OH, SNAP: THE SIERRA NEVADA AMERICORPS PARTNERSHIP (SNAP) AND GRIZZLY CORPS ARE ESSENTIAL COLLABORATORS, PROVIDING SRT WITH AMERICORPS MEMBERS WHO SERVE ONE
Our bond with members of our area Wukchumni tribe deepened as we planned for the return of their major event at Kaweah Oaks Preserve, Go Native, a celebration of Central California’s Yokuts culture. Our SRT Dry Creek Nursery continued to provide native drought-tolerant plants for restoration efforts, as well as for sustainable gardening enthusiasts. Thanks to our ongoing partnerships with San Joaquin Valley Health Fund and Western Conservation Foundation, we continued our pursuit of sustainable land use planning and policy that benefit both urban and rural places, and telling our stories through video and print, publishing op-eds in influential publications around California.
YEAR IN SRT EDUCATION, VOLUNTEERS, AND STEWARDSHIP. THE 2020-21 TEAM (FROM LEFT): AUDREY MAHINAN, ALEXIS WILKMAN, LINDSEY VANDERMOLEN, AND CELESTE ARGUETA.
Number of California counties with land protected by SRT
Number of Kaweah Oaks Preserve visitors in 2020, a substantial increase since new CA-198 highway signage raised awareness in 2020
Daily record number of visitors to SRT Kaweah Oaks Preserve
Number of SRT nature preserves (2 open to public 365 days a year)
Total number of SRT land acquisition projects
SRT STRATEGIC PARTNERS Chaffee Zoo Climate Ride Natural Resources Group, Inc. Regenerative Ag Foundation San Joaquin Valley Health Fund
Southern California Edison Southern California Gas Company Visalia Breakfast Rotary Club
2020 SRT DONORS George & Carol Allen Julie Allen Kathryn Allison Melanie Alvarado Gina Axsom Paula Bayard Kathryn & Marshall Black Karen Bodner Susan Bonesteel Drs. Kyle & Rodney Boone Mary Ann & Newell Bringhurst Marguerite & Robert Brown Mikael & Denise Brown Gloria Buckles John Buford Geraldine Card Katherine Cattani Mike Chrisman
Lucy Clark John Colbert Aaron Collins Greg & Dorothy Collins Carole Combs Peter Cowper John R. & Patricia Crain Ellen & Brian Cypher Tom Derr Roger & Ruth Dilbeck James Downing Rick & Mary Jo Eastes Peggy & Jim Entz Gregg Fauth Stephen H. & Rebecca Atwater Fetterhoff Carol Frate Keren Friedman
Jody & Steve Fuller Patricia Fuller Nicole Gaston-Fowler Kit & Craig Gibbs Marian Goldeen Ellen & Walter Gorelick Jane and Michael Grassel Mary & Thomas Gray Carole & John Greening Mignon Gregg Joan & Roger Hall Ron & Susan Hamilton Janice Hansen Marilyn Harper Laurie & Robert Hart Richard Hatfield Janet Herben Ernie Hernandez
2020 SRT DONORS, continued Sarah & David Hobbs Carolyn Hodge Bob and Kay Hutmacher Patrick Inkster Benjamin Jacobs Patricia & Richard Jacobsen Robin Jepsen Karen and Jim Johnson Larry & Barbara Johnson Richard & Priscilla Johnson Sharon & Don Kaplan Sheridan King Robert Krase Michael Kreps Margaret Land Mark Larsen Candace Leone Shannon Lewis Sheri & Michael Lewis Dale Lincoln Paul Loeffler Carol & Terry Manning Barbara Mansfield Hank & Joan Marschall Annabelle McCarthy Sean McGinn Roderick Meade Caroline Meinert
Jennifer Miller William D. Miller Robert & Vivian Moeller, Jr. Sopac McCarthy Mulholland Thomas Mulholland Salvatore Natoli Deborah Nelson Sallie Neubauer Jody Nicholson Carol & Eugene Nickel Gail & Mike Olmos Jane & Ronald Olson Nadia Omar Dorothy & William Osak Melvin J. Palmer Cynthia J. Parker Carolyn Pendery Donald Peter George Pilling Randall Ranger Robert Wilson & Kristin Reniers Shaun & Cory Ricks Logan Robertson Lynne Rodriguez Thomas Scharffenberger Cole Schieferle Naomi Schuler Margaret Schultz
Joy D. Semple Jeannette & Edgar Sense Suzanne Settimi Arthur Shahzade Alex Sherriffs Marylin & William Silveira Dale Marjorie & Herb Simmons Brandon Smith Charles Smith Nicole Spear Scott Spear John & Christina Sundstrom Dr. Richard Svihla, DVM George and Linda Sward Christy and George Tomi Ronald Turner Frances and Bill Tweed Robert Urtecho Gay & Jim Versteeg Michael & Stephanie Wall Wilfred Weeks, Jr. Nancy White Phil & Sandy White Marjorie Whitendale Keith J Woodcock Martin Zeeb Lorraine and David Zorn
IN BLOOM: SRT’S RESTORED DRY CREEK PRESERVE EMERGES FROM THE BROWN SUMMER AND FALL SEASONS EACH YEAR TO REVEAL A VERDANT LANDSCAPE WHERE PREVIOUSLY A GRAVEL QUARRY HAD LEFT THE LAND BARREN.
2020 FINANCIAL RESULTS REVENUES Contributions.......................................... $1,472,563. Grants ….…………….......………….............… $623,654. Program service revenue.……….................. $298,870. Investment Income.…..............…………… $2,960,785. Other revenue …..….............………….……… $356,832. $5,712,704. TOTAL ………...........………………………….. EXPENSES Program expenses….............……………… $1,430,964. Management & general...................……….. $537,614. Fundraising ….................……………………….. $53,763. TOTAL …............……………………………….. $2,022,341. NET ASSETS Beginning of the year….............………… $37,102,933. End of the year …............…………………. $40,793,296. CHANGE IN NET ASSETS....………… $3,690,363.
DEDICATION, SUSTAINED Board Member and Past Chair. To say his fingerprints are all over the place would be an understatement. A strong, successful organization requires a range of human functions: Brains; muscle; legs to carry the mission forth. For SRT’s first 20 years, Scott consistently demonstrated his resolute commitment to our cause, fostering the wellbeing of our company and community through daily contribution.
SRT’s mission is to inspire love and lasting protection for important lands. But who inspires those whose purpose is to inspire others? Leading a team to fulfill our complex mission in tumultuous times takes grit, passion, and an empowered, driven staff. At SRT, that person is Scott Spear, who has been part of the organization’s leadership since its inception in 2000, as
Bringing a farmer’s pragmatism and a humanitarian’s values to our efforts, Scott has provided solid, can-do leadership for SRT, such as was the case when he was appointed to staff by the Board of Directors as Interim Executive Director in late 2020. And while he has brought significant muscle and brains to our initiatives, and provided legs for organizational stability, perhaps most significant of all, he has served as the de facto heart of SRT, making kindness and respect central to his approach in all his dealings. Scott has brought sincere emotion to the proceedings, making plainly evident his deep appreciation, abiding concern for people, and enduring love for our organization. For his integrity, compassion, sound judgment, and unwavering fidelity to our cause, we dedicate this 2020 edition of SRT Mission Advances to Scott Spear and thank him for his exemplary service to our organization.
ABOVE: SRT BLUE OAK RANCH PRESERVE’S POND SUSTAINS YEAR-ROUND WILDLIFE, MAKING IT THE CENTERPIECE OF THIS 900-ACRE PRESERVE NEAR SPRINGVILLE, CALIFORNIA.
LEADERSHIP SRT is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors who serve three-year terms, contribute financially to the organization, and support its mission in a variety of ways both publicly and behind the scenes.
SRT BOARD of DIRECTORS Rod Meade, Chair Brian Grant, Vice President Kathy Perkinson, Treasurer Julie Allen, Secretary Mike Chrisman Pete Cowper Don Kaplan Mark Larsen Mike Olmos Mimi Shuler Scott Spear Colby Wells
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SEQUOIA RIVERLANDS TRUST, PLEASE VISIT US ON THE WEB AT: WWW.SEQUOIARIVERLANDS.ORG
427 SOUTH GARDEN STREET VISALIA, CA 93277
ABOVE: PLANS CONTINUED IN 2020 FOR IMPROVING SRT’S KAWEAH OAKS PRESERVE EVENT AREA, INCLUDING THE ADDITION OF PERMANENT LIGHTING FOR THE ENORMOUS
OFFICE: (559) 738-0211
VALLEY OAK THAT ANCHORS THE SPACE.