Through the Gates Bay Area residents have united in recent decades to protect the natural places we love and embrace the human diversity that makes our region vibrant. Save The Bay’s achievements prove the power of many different voices joining in common cause. Now acts of hatred and rallies for intolerance show that unity is needed more than ever. Not long ago, we drove wildlife to extinction by damming rivers, cutting down forests, tearing down hillsides for minerals, and almost filling in San Francisco Bay. Yet we united to save majestic redwoods, scenic shorelines, eagles, elephant seals, and sea otters. Just last year more than 70 percent of Bay Area voters chose to tax ourselves to restore more of San Francisco Bay. Natural open space has made us healthier and richer, and our healthier Bay is central to our quality of life and economy. Not long ago, we exterminated native tribes, locked neighbors in internment camps, redlined neighborhoods, and outlawed interracial marriages. Yet we grew to embrace people from many cultures and beliefs to build a region of innovation, creativity, and collaboration that others seek to emulate. Less than a decade after San Francisco declared couples of any gender may marry, it’s now legal throughout the U.S. Our tolerance makes us stronger, and there is beauty in our variety. We still face big hurdles to create an equitable and just society in the Bay Area. We can tackle climate change, pollution, growing inequality and continuing discrimination if we continue to stand united, embracing our diversity. Hate and violence won’t take us to that better place. Let the Bay Area and all of California be a model to the rest of the nation. Let’s show that together we can overcome the tough challenges before us by putting care, kindness, and love first. When we do that, we can build a healthier Bay and Bay Area for all the people and wildlife that call this place home.

David Lewis, Executive Director, Save The BaySave The Bay Executive Director David Lewis has been announced as the recipient of the 2017 Bay Nature Local Hero Award for Conservation Action. He will be honored by the conservation nonprofit Bay Nature Institute alongside a “dynamic duo” in the field of citizen science, and an inspiring organizer of tree-planting initiatives in East Palo Alto. These awards are presented annually to recognize dedicated extraordinary contributions to the protection, stewardship, and understanding of the environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. The award recipients will be honored at Bay Nature’s Local Hero Awards Dinner on Sunday, March 26, 2017, at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco.
From Bay Nature: David Lewis has been an effective advocate, tireless organizer, and articulate spokesperson for San Francisco Bay for more than 18 years. As executive director of Save The Bay, David has brought together diverse stakeholders, from public officials to grassroots activists, to forge regional solutions to the Bay’s most pressing challenges. He has helped build Save The Bay into a regional political force, culminating with his leadership of the successful campaign for Measure AA, the first ever voter-approved region-wide funding measure in the Bay Area. Passed in June 2016, Measure AA secures $500 million for the restoration of San Francisco Bay wetlands and shoreline over the next 20 years. David’s keen political instincts and strategic vision were critical in achieving this milestone victory for the Bay. Under David’s leadership, Save the Bay has also engaged thousands of Bay Area residents in volunteer habitat restoration projects around the Bay shoreline. David says, “It’s such a privilege to work for a healthy Bay with a large and growing community of people who care for this remarkable natural treasure and produce results that we can see and touch.”
Bay Nature’s other awardees for 2017 are Environmental Education Award winners Rebecca Johnson & Alison Young, co-coordinators of the Citizen Science Project at California Academy of Sciences and Youth Engagement Award winner Uriel Hernandez, a community forestry coordinator from the nonprofit Canopy.