President's message, by L. Tim Wallace

IT IS MY PLEASURE TO ANNOUNCE that Jon Keeley has agreed to be the featured speaker at our annual meeting on Sunday, November 4. Dr. Keeley last spoke to the Conservancy in the autumn of 2007—five years ago—so we’re pleased to have him back again to discuss the most important new findings in the field of wildfire behavior, climate, and local conditions.

Jon Keeley is one of the nation’s leading experts on wildfire and natural landscape management. He is the head of station for the USGS Western Regional Ecological Research Center and adjunct professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. After visiting the Bay Area in 2004 and touring Claremont Canyon with Conservancy members and others, he produced a carefully documented research paper, “Fire History of the San Francisco East Bay Region and Implications for Landscape Patterns,” which was published by the International Journal of Wildland Fire. I encourage any of you who are interested to have a look at this important work, which is downloadable from our website.

The threat of wildfire looms large this time of year as we recall several major conflagrations that have swept through Claremont Canyon—with devastating conse- quences—during our windy, dry fall weather. We pause for a moment to remember friends and neighbors who have lost lives and property.

At the Conservancy we realize that fire safety and preservation of the environment are everybody’s responsibility, public landowners and private citizens alike. I am heartened to know that our public agencies are working hard toward these twin goals. Education is key. As you will read inside this newsletter, many private citizens learn about local ecosystems while vol- unteering their time weeding around native plants and clearing unwanted debris in public parks. Good citizens take wildfire preparedness seriously. They also follow local ordinances that call for defensible space around their homes, and they use recommended materials and designs. I thank you kindly if you are one of these good citizens.

If you have not yet become active in the Conservancy you have much to look forward to. If you are not yet a member, I warmly invite you to consider joining. Your donation is greatly appreciated, as well as your active participation. I look forward to seeing you at our annual meeting.