Sierra Day at the Capitol: A Voice for our Headwaters

The Sierra Nevada’s rich resources and history have inspired the passionate commitment of people dedicated to protecting the region’s natural splendor and to repairing the damages caused by the last two hundred years of ruthless resource extraction. Though sparsely populated by year-round residents, the region’s beauty attracts millions of visitors who share an intense devotion to the range of light. Tapping into the passion this beauty inspires is key for protecting and restoring the Sierra Nevada and ensuring the resilience of the people who live there.

On February 4, 2020, dozens of Sierra leaders traveled to the California State Capitol in a show of solidarity for the state’s headwaters, at an event co-sponsored by The Sierra Fund, Sierra Nevada Alliance, and Sierra Business Council. The goal of this event, the “Sierra Day in the Capitol,” was to bring understanding and recognition of the Sierra as an abundant source of natural resources for the entire state and to seek increased funding, protection, and restoration for the region at-large. The program included a morning of educational presentations followed by a training session on how to speak with legislators and their staff. The Sierra Fund’s CEO, Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, gave a presentation on “Advocacy 101,” an insight into her 40 years of experience working with legislators. The coalition of visionaries then went out in teams to meet with 45 legislative offices, advocating for the Sierra’s forest health, upper watershed restoration, community resilience, and more.

This is not the first time The Sierra Fund has worked effectively with other Sierra interests to build a presence for the Sierra Nevada in the State Capitol. The Sierra Fund has organized and participated in “Sierra Advocacy” days since the early 2000s. Past events have notably involved advocacy around the creation of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) through AB 2600, which was signed into law in 2004. Subsequent events have built support for bonds and budget proposals that have successfully increased public and private funding available to the region. These funds have been used to address legacy and current impacts of mining on the Sierra Nevada’s forests, rivers, meadows, and communities.

The overarching goal of all of these events has been to raise awareness among members of the Legislature, legislative staff, and state agency personnel about the Sierra Nevada and the importance of the region to California’s well-being.

The Sierra Fund is so grateful to this year’s Sierra Day in the Capitol co-sponsors, Sierra Nevada Alliance and Sierra Business Council, for working alongside us to make this a truly inspirational day. We would like to extend another thank you to all who came out to raise a voice for the headwaters of the state. If you were unable to attend, click here to view a fact sheet with take-home messages from the event and be sure to sign up for our eNews to learn about future events of this nature.