by Bob Neale
My mom thinks I spend most of my time wandering around the woodlands and forests of Sonoma County, tending to all the plants and animals. When I tell folks about my work, or when I make presentations to groups or conferences, I share stories about sensitive habitat, wildlife corridors, restoring wetlands and fisheries, and managing nature. My PowerPoint presentations have photos of owls and mountain lions, serpentine wildflower blooms, and willows and oak trees we planted. These are things I care about deeply and I feel so grateful to be here at Sonoma Land Trust, where I can do this work. It’s good work. And it can often be complicated and, well, just hard.
But the thing that keeps me coming back to work each day isn’t the plantings at Tolay Creek Ranch, the hoped-for fish at Stuart Creek Run or the view from the top of Pole Mountain. No — what keeps me coming back is the people. This is the greatest group of people I’ve worked with in my whole career. I have the best colleagues in the world here at Sonoma Land Trust — especially the stewardship characters! They are dedicated, smart and full of integrity. They are funny, irreverent and always there when you need them. You’ve seen their words in the blog posts and you’ve seen their work on our preserves and conservation easement properties.
Let me introduce you to the “Stew Crew.” Next time you see them out and about in Sonoma County, say hi and tell them “job well done,” ’cause they are rocking your conservation world.
As stewardship director, Bob works with a team of dedicated professionals to care for and manage the Trust’s lands and conservation easements. He grew up in southern California, watching the fields and beach front slowly disappear to condos, mansions and strip malls. Fleeing the concrete, Bob moved north and received his B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from San Francisco State. Bob worked in the freight industry for several years until he finally decided to bring his attention back to his first love – the land. Beginning at Peninsula Open Space Trust, and then moving to Sustainable Conservation, he was fortunate to work with and learn from some of the most creative people in conservation, and continues to do so at SLT
Sonoma Land Trust is a local nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, CA, that conserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open lands in Sonoma County for the benefit of the community and future generations. This blog focuses on SLT's stewardship team, whose members do hands-on work to directly protect, restore, and safeguard the land for generations to come.