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Executive Director’s Report, November 2021

By Chris Morrill, Executive Director

Looking at the world around us, it can be difficult to find gratitude. We face many major challenges which can fuel anxiety and make us worried about the state of the world.

This year, I had to think hard about what I was thankful for this year. But I didn’t have to think far.

I’m thankful for California.

I’m thankful to call it home. I’m thankful to have grown up here and to continue to have family here. And I’m thankful for all California has to offer; from its natural beauty to its people to its long history of innovation and risk taking.

I know the state is far from perfect. We grapple with many of the same challenges of other states and some that are just bigger in California including a super charged housing crisis, catastrophic wildfires and other impacts from climate change, and persistent inequality.

CalWild’s work to protect California’s remaining wild places had a big boast with the state’s 30 by 30 effort. We spent a lot of time making sure the state of California’s work reflects both the values and the unique wild areas of the various regions around the state.

The effort was the first of its kind anywhere in the United States. The conversations that took place in different regions and around different topics were not always easy. Local groups and activists had to begin to work through sometimes decades of distrust and misunderstanding.

However messy it was and unsatisfactory the result, the process itself provided an opportunity for conservation to work on and lay bare the challenges we’ll have to overcome in order to make progress towards the 30×30 goal. I’m glad to live in a place and with the people willing to tackle these problems head on.

These issues are far from resolved. The good news is that progress will continue in small ways throughout this decade long effort as long as we make sure we provide the spaces needed for continued growth.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with so many dedicated individuals working to build a better future. A more sustainable future. A more equitable future. That’s where my hope lies and why I’m thankful to be able to tackle these challenges with such committed people and in such a special place.

Please let me know your thoughts, comments, and questions by emailing me at