Celebrating with Green Foothills
Wickett Ranch
Neil Wiley

This wasn’t an ordinary hike. It was a day in September when over 300 supporters and friends of the Committee for Green Foothills met to celebrate “because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Wickett Ranch was an appropriate venue, because this beautiful 400-acre property near Skyline is a celebration of nature that will someday be a protected preserve. The audience represented government, non-profits, and other champions for the environment.

Those of us who came early were treated to a short hike down through redwood forest, to shaded rest areas, a visit to a rustic cabin, and looking up to a sky platform that suggested something from a Costa Rican cloud forest. We emerged from the shade into a giant meadow overlooking a wide-angle view of coastal mountains.

As I walked through another meadow to reach our luncheon site, I was passed by two beautiful horses running free. They were beautiful, but even more surprising were two emus, also running but safely behind a fence in a large enclosure. Nearby, a pair of friendly, non-running donkeys were enjoying food and much attention.

Around the corner, I discovered an imposing rusty steel cylindrical tower perhaps more than sixty feet tall. It was once a sawdust burner, also called teepee, wigwam, or beehive burner. Curious, I walked up a long ramp to the top to see what was inside. At the top was a sunlit dome, perhaps to be expected, but several stories down below a string quartet was playing lovely classical music to a rapt audience. Although the acoustics were amazing, the venue was even more spectacular.

I could have listened all afternoon, but the buffet was open. I enjoyed lunch. It was a great experience to hear so many people who shared a common cause—protecting our environment.

The emcee was congresswoman Jackie Spier, a fearless fighter for the environment. You know she is influential when she receives an “F” from the NRA.

A special honoree was Joseph Cotchett, a tough-talking attorney who has invested more than fifty years representing underdogs against powerful anti-environment interests.

The hosts, Jim Wickett and Magdalena Yesil, devote their property and time to environmental and other social causes. Not everyone would allow 300 people to tramp through their backyard.

The executive director of Green Foothills, Megan Fluke, energized us with a powerful call to action—joining in the fight with a lawsuit to protect the Cargill salt ponds from development that would destroy restorable natural resources, and threaten new homes and businesses from rising water and potential earthquake liquefaction.

The Committee for Green Foothills has worked for the environment for over fifty years, protecting wildlife corridors in Coyote Valley, blocking shoreline development, stopping privatization of coastal beaches, protecting 20,000 acres of open space, and advocating for nature.

I remember my first meeting with Green Foothills. A few of us sat around a small table to discuss how we could stop the development of a country club, which is now Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space. I thought this little group couldn’t save this natural resource for the public good, but they did, “because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” They are worthy of our support. For information, visit www.greenfoothills.org.