Outings Leader Spotlight: Nancy Topp
Nancy Topp wears many hats for Greenbelt Alliance (but not top hats). From supporter to volunteer to staff member, she has devoted her passion and talent to a breadth of our programs.
As an outings leader, she spends evening hikes hunting for scorpions with a black light. As Greenbelt Alliance’s accounting manager, she stays on top of the numbers. (And gets us all paid!) As a fervent advocate for the environment, Nancy lives and breathes Greenbelt Alliance’s mission.
“I just grew up appreciating nature and natural areas,” Nancy said. “Greenbelt Alliance is doing the ultimate of preserving open space over the whole Bay Area.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Greenbelt Alliance outings. Throughout her nine years leading hikers around some of the Bay Area’s most alluring open spaces, Nancy has collected many memories. She enjoys outings where she and other outings leaders are able to teach participants about the land, native species, and developments. Occasionally Nancy’s dog, a small Papillon-Chihuahua named Miles, even gets to join in on the fun and tag along during group dog hikes at Castle Rock and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve.
However, Nancy’s favorite outings are hikes spent teaming up with longtime friend and fellow Outings Coordinator Ken Lavin. Nancy and Ken met on a tarantula hike 15 years ago and have bonded over their environmental appreciation ever since.
“[When I met Ken], I had never heard of Greenbelt Alliance, so it was wonderful exposure,” Nancy said.
Nancy had lived in several cities along the west coast before settling down in the bay area, a region she has called home for over 25 years. She said she has never been more satisfied in a place.
“The Bay Area has everything,” Nancy said. “You can go from one end to the other, and it’s like you’re in a different place. You have Lake Tahoe, the coast, mountains… the land offers so much diversity to enjoy.”
In addition to her work with Greenbelt Alliance, Nancy is a passionate supporter of Save Mount Diablo, an organization that helped to preserve the land behind her house, and the Yosemite Conservancy.
Photo: Taylor Hanigosky ©