New alliance of nonprofit, city, state, and educational organizations have pledged to work together to improve the ecological health of San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 7, 2023)— Today the California Academy of Sciences and partners across the City are thrilled to announce the new Reimagining San Francisco urban nature alliance, which brings together a diverse and growing group of 32 organizations in collective action to improve the ecological health of San Francisco and equitably distribute the benefits of local nature to all.
The alliance is the result of a year-long effort spearheaded by the California Academy of Sciences to bring together local leaders from government agencies, nonprofits, and educational organizations to co-create a vision and strategy for a healthier and greener San Francisco. The creation of the alliance is a key element of the Academy’s Thriving California initiative, which harnesses scientific data and mobilizes diverse communities to fight climate change, stop biodiversity loss, and advocate for nature in the Golden State.
“It’s no easy feat to rally this many institutions behind a single cause, but every organization in this alliance knows that the change our city needs cannot be done by one organization alone,” said Rebecca Johnson, co-director of the Academy’s Thriving California initiative and a leader on the Reimaging San Francisco steering committee. “I hope that seeing just how many organizations are committed to working together toward a San Francisco where people and nature thrive together will spark optimism among San Franciscans for the future of our beautiful city. With the combined resources, brilliance, and passion of this many organizations and talented individuals, we can be a powerful agent for regenerating San Francisco.”
Reimagining San Francisco was announced today, California Biodiversity Day, at a press conference on the California Academy of Sciences’ Living Roof, with remarks from City leaders and Reimagining San Francisco partners.
During the press conference, the alliance outlined its bold and ambitious goals:
- By 2030, 30% of San Francisco is biodiverse greenspace.
- A comprehensive network of biodiverse corridors provides free movement for local wildlife and people.
- Natural lands management is fully resourced for management, conservation, restoration, and the ongoing addition of new lands.
- Everyone in San Francisco has easy access to nearby nature.
- San Francisco’s many neighborhoods have the resources, know-how, and city support to promote, create, restore, and steward biodiverse nature in their communities.
- Creating biodiverse landscapes in the built environment becomes routine.
“Our Reimagining San Francisco partner organizations are already engaged in impactful work to make our city a healthier place for both people and nature. But we are confident we can reach even higher if we work collaboratively,” said Academy Executive Director Scott Sampson, PhD. “Together we can realize a future where abundant nature is deeply interwoven with the built environment. Whether in backyards, schoolyards, courtyards, or street medians, nature-rich spaces brimming with life will replace expanses of asphalt and concrete and equitably distribute nature access across the City. The end result will be a thriving, diverse community for humans and nonhumans alike. San Francisco has the opportunity to reimagine itself and, in doing so, become a global leader helping to imagine thriving, regenerative cities for the 21st century.”
“For communities of color, Reimagining San Francisco translates to reconnecting the people to the land,” said Dr. Hollis Pierce-Jenkins, executive director of Literacy for Environmental Justice, a nonprofit that formed because Bayview residents organized to demand the creation of California's first urban park. “The great migration from the South to the West Coast was based on Black people imagining a future where they could own property and build wealth. Many fled the racial barriers in the South to explore a more progressive space in San Francisco.
“A new generation needs to embrace history, learn from elders, and reclaim their love affair with the outdoors in ways that are holistic and healing. The cultural footprint in green spaces needs to reflect the diverse contributions of the people. Justice outside brings gratitude, healing and re-alignment with nature,” she added.
Over the coming year, as the alliance continues to grow and welcome new members, it will identify an initial portfolio of projects with meaningful community impact that are only possible through the collaboration enabled by the alliance.
Following the press conference, the Academy’s celebration of California Biodiversity Day continues throughout September 7 with a 12-hour live-streamed event featuring 50 environmental experts naming California’s flora and fauna, and a California biodiversity-themed NightLife event (21+). Additionally, on September 9, the Academy will co-host a community science bioblitz in the Sacramento region alongside the California Natural Resources Agency and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Additional Reimagining San Francisco Partner Quotes:
"Reimagining San Francisco is uniquely situated to address the need for greater biodiverse green spaces. This interdisciplinary and equity- driven approach to change has the potential to transform our collective impact on the climate, biodiversity, and socioeconomic crises,” said Jamie Chan, Ed.D., Director of Programs and Partnerships, Gardens of Golden Gate Park.
“Nature is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” said Tyrone Jue, Director of the San Francisco Environment Department. “I am excited to work together with our diverse partners to bring more nature into every neighborhood, especially those who face environmental injustices. Every San Franciscan should enjoy the beauty and benefits of nature and join us in creating a greener, healthier, and more livable city for everyone.”
“Access to nature is essential, particularly for city dwellers. It supports our mental and physical health, our children’s development, and our community bonds. Rec and Park’s mission is to ensure every person in San Francisco has access to healthy recreation, beautiful parks, and creative playgrounds. Reimagining San Francisco works collaboratively with us to achieve these goals,” said San Francisco Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg.
Shawn Lani, Principal Investigator and Senior Artist, Exploratorium, added, "Reimagining San Francisco establishes a process allowing everyone to participate in shaping our city. The Exploratorium loves prototypes rich in diverse components and perspectives, welcomes groundbreaking ideas, learns from bold missteps, and values insights that break barriers. As always, while we're not entirely certain of the final outcome, we're fully committed to the journey."
Jean Fraser, CEO, Presidio Trust, said, “As stewards of the natural areas of the Presidio with the National Park Service, the Presidio Trust is so proud to be part of Reimagining San Francisco. This alliance is generating the big ideas we need to create the beautiful, thriving San Francisco of the future that we all want.”
“SF Children & Nature works to ensure every child in the city has a nature-rich childhood because it makes children happier, healthier, and more resilient. We’re thrilled to join hands with Reimagining San Francisco and the growing alliance of organizations that care deeply about investing in a nature-filled and sustainable San Francisco,” said SF Children & Nature Director Maria Durana.
Amber Hasselbring, Executive Director, Nature in the City, added, "For nearly two decades, Nature in the City has engaged San Franciscans in restoring and caring for native habitats across the city. As a member of Reimagining San Francisco and with partnership as our cornerstone, we are thrilled to codify our shared commitment to local nature. This alliance will help us achieve our mission through expanded reach, ensuring all San Franciscans have safe and easy access to nature. In particular, we aim to equip young people to protect biodiversity and work to mitigate the effects of climate change on our beautiful city."
Reimagining San Francisco Member Organizations:
- American Indian Cultural District
- California Academy of Sciences
- California Native Plant Society
- California State Parks Foundation
- Council of Community Housing Organizations
- Friends of the Urban Forest
- Golden Gate Biosphere Network
- Golden Gate Bird Alliance
- Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
- Gardens of Golden Gate Park
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area
- Literacy for Environmental Justice
- Nature in the City
- Presidio Trust
- San Francisco Children & Nature
- San Francisco Department of Public Works
- San Francisco Environment Department
- San Francisco Estuary Institute
- San Francisco Planning
- San Francisco Public Library
- San Francisco Recreation and Parks
- San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families
- San Francisco State University
- San Francisco Unified School District
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
- Schell Lab at UC Berkeley
- Second Nature
- St. Anthony's SF
- Sutro Stewards
- Trust for Public Land
The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution with a mission to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement—all under one living roof. Museum hours are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Saturday, and 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For daily ticket prices, please visit www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.
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