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Executive Director’s Report, June 2021

By Chris Morrill, Executive Director

This summer, CalWild will kick off its first strategic planning process in many years.

Our public lands and communities are confronted with a number of challenges including the climate and biodiversity crises, the menace of catastrophic wildfire, and a historic reckoning with systemic racism. These urgent issues require a critical look at what CalWild’s goals are, what we do, and how we do it.

Currently, CalWild is significantly engaged on the state’s 30 by 30 process that is trying to address the climate crisis by conserving 30% of California’s land and water by 2030. This is an unprecedented focus on land protection. It comes amidst a growing call for action on climate change. Land conservation, while essential to both adapting and mitigating climate change, has never been at the forefront of the climate discussion. While this is an enormous opportunity, we need to examine how to do this in a way that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past and moves conservation forward in a more sustainable and equitable direction.

Last summer, the protest around the killing of George Floyd prompted a deeper reckoning with our history and past in ways that are both hard and important for moving forward. Those examinations continue today in every facet of society, including in public lands policy and management, and require the kind of deep examination a strategic plan can afford.

The wildfire crisis in California has quickly hit epidemic proportions. For years, CalWild has called for new wildfire policies to try to get more good fire on the land, so as to restore some of the ecological health of the lands and waters and rebalance a fire regime that existed in the state for millennia. The looming threat of catastrophic wildfire is fundamentally changing our relationship to the land.

Ultimately, these are hard questions and convoluted issues without clear answers. We believe with the help of our partners, funders, supporters and colleagues, we can move forward as an impactful organization for years to come. By taking the time and space to take these issues into account, we can be even more effective in protecting California’s wild public lands.

I would like to invite you to participate in this member survey to help us hear from a diversity of  perspectives on our work. We will continue to offer the survey throughout this six-month planning process. We look forward to sharing something with you in early in 2022. We thank you for your ongoing support and we appreciate any insights or perspectives you’d like to share.


Please let me know your thoughts, comments, and questions by emailing me at cmorrill@calwild.org.