April 16, 2014

Uncle Muir wants you–to fill Executive Committee vacancies right now, or run in fall elections

339x250_chapter-election-art-kristen-schlottThe Bay Chapter needs candidates to run in this fall’s elections for the Executive Committees (ExComms) of the Chapter and its eight groups–and to fill current vacancies on the Chapter, Marin, Northern Alameda, and TriValley Group ExComms. We also need volunteers to serve on the Chapter Nominations and Elections Committee to help recruit candidates and administer the elections.

Congratulations! As a member of the Sierra Club, you’re part of the largest volunteer-driven environmental organization in the country. If you’re one of our active members—or want to be—with a passion to explore, enjoy, and protect our planet, please consider becoming part of the Chapter’s core leadership team.

The Chapter Executive Committee is the Chapter’s board of directors–responsible for overseeing the management and financial sustainability of our Chapter, setting the Chapter’s policy/advocacy directions, and assuring a structure that supports the development and success of our grassroots leaders. The Chapter ExComm meets the second Monday evening of each month. With preparation and follow-up, members typically spend 10 hours per month on this. In addition, ExComm members have subcommittee assignments or additional leadership roles that take varying amounts of time.

Group ExComms have similar kinds of responsibilities, though for smaller groups these typically take less time.

The Nominations and Elections Committee is seeking candidates to run for election this November for a two-year term beginning in January 2014. The ideal candidate should have the ability to look at the big picture, take initiative, and make decisions. Some of the relevant skill areas for an ExComm member (no one member has all of these) include management, budgeting/finance, grassroots organizing, fundraising, knowledge of specific issues, volunteer organizing, leadership development, publishing, knowledge of community interests or concerns, local politics, environmental law, ethnic diversity, computer or internet knowledge, and social media.

If this describes you (or someone you know), consider applying (or recommending someone).

To apply for current vacancies, contact:

Chapter ExComm (one vacancy)
Igor Tregub

Marin Group ExComm (one vacancy)
Michele Barni

Northern Alameda County Group ExComm (one vacancy)
Olga Bolotina

TriValley Group ExComm (two vacancies)
Janis Kate-Turner

To serve on the Chapter Nominations and Elections Committee, to run in the fall elections, or for more information, contact committee chair Elizabeth Lam at lamyuting@gmail.com or (206)225-8232.

Join in 2014 anniversary celebrations

At trailhead for Arrowhead Canyon wilderness service day. Photo by Jose Witt, Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

At trailhead for Arrowhead Canyon wilderness service day. Photo by Jose Witt, Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

This year of 2014 marks two special anniversaries–the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and the 90th of the Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter.

Readers of the Yodeler already know a lot about the Bay Chapter and its ongoing work for the Bay Area environment. Less conspicuous in the paper in recent years, but no less dear to the Sierra Club’s heart, is our work for wilderness and wildlands in general.

When the Chapter was first founded, our focus was primarily in defense of wild places all around California and the nation. Over the decades we have added many local concerns such as stopping pollution and changing development and transportation patterns. In the last 15 years, energy and climate change have risen in prominence. But during all these years our Chapter Wilderness Committee has steadfastly kept the Chapter anchored in our original wilderness tradition.

So when the Wilderness Act was proposed, in the 1950s and early ’60s, the Chapter was there working for it, and we joined in the celebration when Pres. Lyndon Johnson signed it in 1964, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System, which today includes over 750 areas totaling nearly 110 million acres within our national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. We were there in the following campaign that led to the California Wilderness Act in 1984. We campaigned for many years for the California Desert Protection Act of 1994. Our efforts have not been just for California: we campaigned actively for wilderness in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980, and we continue to work for smaller wilderness bills all over the nation and for other types of protection for the nation’s varied wildlands.

All of these bills establish federal wilderness areas, lands given the nation’s highest level of protection for public lands, where, in the words of the Wilderness Act, “the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”

We’re also celebrating new successes: on March 4, ending a five-year hiatus, Congress designated a new wilderness area: over 32,500 acres in Michigan’s beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. And on March 11 Pres. Obama added the Stornetta Public Lands along the Garcia River near Point Arena to the California Coastal National Monument (see http://theyodeler.org/?p=9196.

So help celebrate!


A coalition of some 30 non-governmental organizations and federal agencies, known as “Wilderness50”, is organizing a diverse array of events across the country to highlight wilderness. A key goal is to promote wilderness to a broader public, inspiring more Americans—especially young people and communities of color—to experience wilderness themselves and in time to join in protecting our remaining natural places from development. Learn more about the anniversary at www.wilderness50th.org and www.facebook.com/50thAnniversaryOfTheWildernessAct.

To volunteer here in the Bay Area, contact Anne Henny at anneth16@sbcglobal.net or Vicky Hoover at (415)977-5527.

The Bay Chapter too is organizing a series of events for its 90th anniversary. To help, contact Joanne Drabek at (510)530-5216 or joanne1892@gmail.com.

For word of the events as they are scheduled, see future Yodelers and the Chapter Calendar at http://sanfranciscobay.sierraclub.org/activities.

Ann Henny

Vote in national Sierra Club elections

Vote in Sierra Club elections!

The national Sierra Club ballot will be sent out in early March to eligible voters. It will include information on the candidates and on finding additional information on the Club’s web site.

The Sierra Club is a democratically structured organization at all levels. Yearly participation in elections at all Club levels is a major membership obligation.

Learn more about candidates by asking questions of your group and chapter leadership and other experienced members, and by visiting the Club’s election web site.

Ballots are due Wed., April 16.

Bay Chapter seeks communications manager

400x400_sc-logoThe Bay Chapter is looking for a unique individual with a blend of writing/editing/publishing, online-marketing, and website-management skills to be our Chapter Communications Manager. Experience with HTML is a must, and a background in Drupal would be a strong plus. Expert-level written English skills and a strong eye for editorial detail are must-haves in this position; for full details and application instructions, see: https://ch.tbe.taleo.net/CH15/ats/careers/requisition.jsp?org=SIERRACLUB&cws=1&rid=384

We’re hiring a volunteer coordinator

400x400_sc-logoDoes hiking, planting trees,and helping people engage in the environmental movement sound like the ideal job for you?  
Do you have the organizational skills to coordinate people and the personality to make it fun?
If so, consider a part-time job with the local Sierra Club. We are looking for a volunteer coordinator to:
  1. work with coalition groups and chapter leaders to develop outreach programs and volunteer opportunities;
  2. maintain a database of volunteer information;
  3. assist with the operations of the Chapter Office and volunteers;
  4. write items for the newsletter and flyers;
  5. train, supervise and schedule volunteers.
 To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to michelle.myers@sierraclub.org.
Title:              Volunteer Coordinator

Reports To:     Chapter Chair or Chapter Director

Context:            Organizes and implements a volunteer development program.

Scope:              The Volunteer Coordinator works with Chapter leaders and staff to develop and implement programs for volunteer identification and training to support various chapter activities, outings programs and office functions.

Job Activities:

1.  Works with groups and chapter leaders to develop outreach programs to identify and recruit potential volunteers, match volunteers to their areas of interest, and increase volunteer participation.

2. Maintains volunteer database and lists of volunteer openings and refers interested members to appropriate chapter committees and leaders.

3.     Assists with the operations of the chapter office, implementing office procedures and membership services.

4.     Writes newsletters and flyers to keep the Club membership and the general public informed.

5.     Trains, supervises and schedules volunteers on office systems and functions.

6.     Coordinates with coalition partners and outside interest groups to plan volunteer activities supporting the Club’s campaign objectives.

7.       Provides clerical and administrative support to Chapter Chair and/or Chapter Director.

8.       Performs miscellaneous duties as directed.

Knowledge & Skills:

‑‑ Strong written and oral communication skills.  Demonstrated public speaking ability.

–Ability to work effectively with a diverse group of organizations and volunteers.

– Ability and willingness to be trained as an Outings leader a plus.

–1 year general office experience.

–Valid driver’s license required.

  • Flexible work hours, with some evenings and weekends required.


National Sierra Club election coming in spring


The annual election for the Club’s national Board of Directors will soon be under way. In March ballots will be mailed to eligible voters (or sent by Internet to those who have chosen electronic delivery). This will include information on the candidates and where you can find additional information on the Club’s web site.

The Sierra Club is democratically structured at all levels.  Your Board of Directors is required to stand for election by the membership. Voting for candidates who express your views on how the Club should grow and change is a privilege and a responsibility of membership.

Celebrate Bay Chapter’s 90th!

The Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Office in Berkeley.

The Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Office in Berkeley.

This year—2014—is a big anniversary year for the Bay Chapter. It’s our 90th anniversary, plus the 50th for the Wilderness Act (see page F) as well as the Civil Rights Act.

You can look forward to events we’ll sponsor throughout the year to celebrate this important history.

The landscape around us would be very different if not for the Bay Chapter. The places we love to visit—like Sequoia National Park, Mount Tamalpais, Kings Canyon, the East Bay Regional Parks (also celebrating their 80th), Point Reyes, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (including the Presidio), the Eastshore State Park, and numerous other California wild areas—were conserved through the efforts of our local activists. We also helped pass the California Coastal Act and the Desert Protection Act, and helped block the proposed PG&E nuclear plant near a faultline at Bodega Head.

Over the years, urban and transportation issues have become key emphases. In 1998 the Chapter was a major force in defeating the first version of Alameda County’s transportation sales tax because of its heavy funding of highway expansions and very limited funds for public transit. We persuaded Contra Costa County to strengthen its Industrial Safety Ordinance. We led the campaign that stopped San Francisco Airport from filling two square miles of the Bay for runway expansion. In 2000, we drafted, gathered signatures for, campaigned for, and passed Measure D, the Alameda County Urban Growth Boundary, and persuaded the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to pass a strong Urban Limit Line. That year we also took legal action that caused Waste Management to reduce the expansion of the Altamont Landfill and pay $65 million for habitat and open space, recycling education, and other compensations to communities impacted by its operations.

Over the last decade or so, we have added a new emphasis on stopping climate disruption and building a clean-energy economy. We played a key role in starting Marin Clean Energy, and we’re still pushing to bring Community Choice energy to San Francisco and the East Bay. We have helped make solar energy more accessible, including through improvements to the permitting process for rooftop solar, supporting subsidy programs like GoSolarSF, and financing and lease programs.

Through all these years we have sponsored an active program of outings—now around 500 per year—and educational activities. Though our priorities have shifted to meet modern demands, at the heart of our work is the dependence of our quality of life on the health of our communities and the protection of natural and rural lands. This year will be a year to reflect on the leaders who fought to maintain the basic rights of people and nature, and on our obligation to the future to adapt in the face of climate disruption.

Read more about our recent accomplishments in the year-end accomplishments article on the front page of this Yodeler, and about our history on the Chapter web site.

In addition to your annual gift, consider giving a special Birthday Gift to the Bay Chapter—perhaps $19.24, $90, 192.4, or $900.90—to help keep building the legacy of the San Francisco Bay Chapter.

You can give at Birthday Gift to the Bay Chapter or mail a check payable to “Sierra Club Bay Chapter” to:

2530 San Pablo Ave., #I
Berkeley, CA 94702
c/o Anniversary Pledge.

John Zierold has passed away

Sierra Club California logo.John Zierold, the first director of the Sierra Club’s lobbying efforts in Sacramento, passed away in late December. Many of our fundamental environmental laws have his fingerprints or DNA hidden on or in them. He was a master analyst of legislative action and legislators. He worked behind the scenes, making friends, getting access, changing minds.

Sierra Club internships—in Bay Area and DC

The Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Office in Berkeley.

The Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter Office in Berkeley.

Interested in one of the Bay Chapter’s conservation campaigns? Want to build your resume experience in the environmental field? Become a conservation intern with the Bay Chapter.
We are always looking for energetic, passionate conservation activists to bring aboard as interns. Interns can work on a number of local to national campaigns alongside a staff conservation organizer. Internships typically last 10 weeks at around 10 hours per week. We do not have paid openings, but colleges may give work/study pay or course credit. Applications are filled on a rolling basis. If you’re interested, contact Jess Dervin-Ackerman at (510)848-0800, ext. 304, or jess@sfbaysc.org.

For internships in the Sierra Club’s Washington DC or San Francisco offices, see www.sierraclub.org/careers/jobs_all.asp.

Election results for Chapter and group ExComms

Update (Jan. 14, 2014): On Jan. 13 the new Chapter Executive Committee met and elected officers for 2014:

  • chair: Becky Evans
  • vice chair: Igor Tregub
  • incoming treasurer: Matt Morrison
  • outgoing treasurer (overlapping till April): Igor Tregub
  • secretary: Dawn Graeff (non-voting)


The results have been announced for the 2013 Bay Chapter elections.

Vote counts for the Chapter Executive Committee (asterisks denote successful candidates) are:

*Vinnie Bacon             310
*Ellen R. Spitalnik       309
*Patrisha (Pat) Piras   261
*Matt Morrison            246
*Elizabeth Lam            227
Max Perrey                 206
Olga Bolotina              150

Vote counts for the San Francisco Group Executive Committee are:

*Howard Strassner       87
*John Rizzo                  86
*Sue Vaughan              85
*Bruce Balshone          79
*Lotus Yee Fong          66
Manish Champsee        34

In the Southern Alameda County Group, sadly, candidate Amy McGonagle passed away before voting began, and therefore the other two candidates, Jewell (Hargleroad) Spalding and Aytug Karalar, were elected.

In all other races, all candidates on the ballot were elected.

There are vacancies  remaining on the ExComms of the Marin and Tri-Valley Groups; contact the group chairs for information about the process for filling these.

The Chapter thanks 2013 Nominations and Election Committee members Nick Pilch (chair), Virginia Bogdan, and Connie Cummings, and vote-counters Joanne Drabek, Jack Bell, Carol Evans, Liz Stern, and Merna Strassner.

We also need people to serve on next year’s Nominations and Elections Committee. To serve, you don’t need to be an insider, but it helps to be organized and a self-starter. It’s a great chance to get to know lots of wonderful Sierra Club leaders and potential new ones! To volunteer, send an e-mail to elections@sfbaysc.org or call Don Forman at (510)848-0800, ext. 305.

Tasks begin in April and last through vote-counting. They include:

  • recruiting candidates for the Chapter ExComm;
  • encouraging local groups to recruit diverse and qualified candidates;
  • preparing the Chapter election supplement;
  • increasing member participation in the election.