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Seeking 'Great Park,' Sempervirens Makes New Appointments

The Sempervirens Fund is working to create a "Great Park" in the Santa Cruz Mountains, spanning San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, by connecting a 198,000-acre string of interconnected public lands together.

Sempervirens Fund, California’s oldest land trust devoted to preserving the area’s coast redwood forests, announced two new appointments to help it reach its "Great Park" dreams.

Just across the street from its Los Altos headquarters, Sempervirens has found Craig Neyman, Vice President and CFO of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, appointing him to Sempervirens' Board of Directors. 

"His knowledge, compassion, and broad experience will provide invaluable guidance in enhancing the work of our local land trust," Sempervirens President Diane Talbert said about the veteran non-profit executive in a prepared statement this week.

Looking a bit farther west to Davenport, it has appointed Wallace “J.” Nichols, acclaimed biologist and environmental advocate, to its Science Advisory Panel. With 50 scholarly papers, popular articles and reports, a cover on Outside magazine and a blog on the Huffington Post, "he is pure inspiration and will open new avenues of exploration for Sempervirens Fund,” Talbert said.

Sempervirens Fund is working to create a "Great Park" in the Santa Cruz Mountains, spanning San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, by connecting existing public lands and working forests to each other. Roughly the size of Redwood or Zion national parks, the Great Park planning area is 198,000 acres, of which 99,000 have already been protected, including Big Basin, Butano and Castle Rock. Sempervirens has targeted another 39,000 acres as its priority for acquisition. 

By joining the Fund's board, Neyman said he hoped to assist the achievement of the Great Park for the benefit of current and future generations, he said.   

Neyman brings his community relationships, knowledge of foundations, and years of experience in nonprofit finance to the Fund.

Before working with The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Neyman served as Vice President and Chief Investment Officer at The Nature Conservancy. Before that, he served as CFO of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, an organization dedicated to nurturing social advocacy for low-income families. Neyman holds a J.D. in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from the University of Oregon School of Law.

"Not only do these majestic forests provide a continuing sense of awe to me and other visitors that walk through their midst, but they also provide critical habitat for wildlife, help protect the water quality of the streams and rivers that run through them, and preserve the natural character of the broader ecosystem, Neyman said, in a prepared statement.

Nichols, the newest member of Sempervirens' Science Advisory Panel is a highly regarded ocean scientist, conservation activist, and community organizer. He is a research associate at California Academy of Sciences, bringing "leading edge research and scientific perspective" to Sempervirens Fund’s Science Advisory Panel, according to Reed Holderman, executive director of the Fund. He blogs on the Huffington Post, Patch's sister publication, and J.’s projects and philosophy incorporates participatory science, social networking/community organizing, and creative communication to inspire a healthier relationship with the sea.

As founder and co-director of OceanRevolution.org, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD.org, a conservation travel network and LiVBLUE.org, a global campaign to reconnect us to our water planet, Nichols also brings innovative approaches to conservation advocacy and community outreach, according to Holderman. Nichols earned his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Arizona. 

“Our family has literally walked the entire California coast from Oregon to Mexico, said Nichols, calling his appointment an honor.

"We know how very fortunate we are to live on the "slowcoast," in the heart of the region Sempervirens has worked for a century to preserve."

Sempervirens Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and permanently preserve redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) forest, wildlife habitat, watersheds, and other important natural and scenic features of California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and to encourage public appreciation and enjoyment of this environment.

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