On March 4th, The Sierra Fund celebrated their Annual Winter Reception by honoring the 10-Year Anniversary of the creation of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. Over 250 attendees, including leaders of Sierra Nevada organizations, legislators, agency heads, and many more, gathered in Sacramento to support and toast to the momentous occasion. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Governing Board, staff and past board members were also in attendance.
The Sierra Fund CEO and master of ceremonies, Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, launched the evening program by highlighting The Sierra Fund’s mission and welcomed Board Chair, Timothy Seward and other board members. Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Governing Board Chair BJ Kirwan then introduced a short tribute film about the many accomplishments and challenges that the Conservancy has faced over the last decade.
Featured speakers included the two co-authors of the legislation that created the Sierra Nevada Conservancy in 2004: current California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and then-Senator Tim Leslie, as well as former Resources Secretary and founding Chair of the Conservancy Mike Chrisman. Mr. Laird and Senator Leslie recapped the year of negotiation to craft the final legislation that was signed by then-Governor Schwarzenegger. “I remember the night the legislation passed, and we were standing together at the informal celebration that happened immediately after the vote,” noted Secretary Laird. The bi-partisan collaboration was a rare and important element of that victory.
Additional featured speakers included Sierra Nevada Conservancy Executive Officer Jim Branham; Senator Jim Nielsen, who presented the Senate Members Resolution recognizing the Conservancy’s decade of achievements, and Brian Dahle, California District 1 Assemblymember, who presented a resolution from the California Assembly. The evening peaked with a special awards presentation to longstanding Sierra Nevada Conservancy Board Members: John Brissenden, BJ Kirwan, and Bob Kirkwood, for their outstanding commitment and leadership throughout the years.
The 2015 anniversary celebration was made possible by a dozen sponsors, including Sorensen’s Resort, Sierra Nevada Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Watch, Sierra Business Council, Rural County Representatives of California, Pacific Forest Trust, South Yuba River Citizens League and Trust for Public Land. No state funds were used in support of this event.
The Sierra Fund, a nonprofit organization based in Nevada City, CA, was established in 2001 to increase and organize investment in protecting and restoring the natural resources and communities of the Sierra Nevada through advocacy, philanthropy and strategic campaigns. The organization holds an annual event in Sacramento to raise visibility of hard working Sierra organizations and the California leaders who support them.
The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s mission is to initiate, encourage, and support efforts that improve the environmental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region, its communities and the citizens of California. Over the last decade the Conservancy has invested over $51 million in effective programs aimed at protecting, conserving and restoring the Sierra Nevada Region’s resources.