A true greenbelt love story: Girl signs up for a Greenbelt Outing. Boy attends the same hike. They find themselves lost in discussion about the nature of Barnabe Peak. One year later they marry.
Ilana Schatz and her husband David Lingren, who will celebrate their 8th wedding anniversary in March, met on an outing in Samuel P. Taylor Park in March 2002. “We had independently decided that hiking was a good way to hang out with people,” said Schatz. “Greenbelt Alliance hikes were more interesting than some other because they’re not a high-pressure social scene. It was easy to start talking and walking together on the trails.”
Although new to each other, they were not newcomers to Greenbelt Outings. “I started in 2000 after I moved to the Bay Area from New York City. I picked up an outings calendar in REI and decided to give it a try,” Lingren recalled. “Ilana started a couple of years before me.”
Now the couple enjoys many outings together, from Uvas Canyon in southern Santa Clara County to the tide pools in Half Moon Bay. “We love Greenbelt Outings because they introduce you to hidden gems of Bay Area nature, which we wouldn’t have seen otherwise,” Schatz said.
Residents of El Cerrito, Schatz and Lingren are founders of Fair Trade Judaica, which links fair trade to Jewish values and practice. They have an appreciation for sustainable values. “We really like Greenbelt Alliance’s focus on preserving the greenbelt by combining land conservation with the smart infill housing work,” said Lingren. “A lot of organizations work to protect open spaces, and lead great hikes there, but people have to live somewhere, and Greenbelt Alliance distinguishes itself by promoting the smart growth balance between nature and places for people to live.”
At their wedding in 2003, Schatz and Lingren asked their guests to donate to two organizations, one of which was Greenbelt Alliance, in appreciation of good work and providing such personal experiences in nature. Added Schatz, “We’re happy to be members and donors.”