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Amy Henson

From City to Country: Margaret Spaulding On Why She Supports Greenbelt Alliance

“Who knew? Turns out I’m a country mouse!” Standing on the hillside above her Glen Ellen home, former Greenbelt Alliance Board member Margaret Spaulding chuckles at the thought.

A Berkeley native and former San Francisco resident, she is now happily ensconced in this rural haven with four mutts and a rain capturing system that sustains her beloved eco-friendly garden. One of the dogs shadows her on the trail to the weathered wood bench perched on a landing with a beautiful sweeping view of Mt. Diablo and the Sonoma countryside.

You can tell Margaret deeply loves the land. She points to the endemic California purple needle grass that she planted and rejoices that it’s making a comeback but also worries that it can be harmful to her dogs.


“I’m not as good a steward of my land as I’d like to be,” she says thoughtfully. “It’s a constant tug between creating a place that is beautiful and inviting on one hand, and truly responsive to our drought conditions on the other hand and providing a rich habitat for all the critters and wildlife.”

Her quest to find that balance is what attracted her to Greenbelt Alliance nearly 25 years ago—eventually falling in love with the organization and supporting it generously for many years. It was only natural to make Greenbelt Alliance one of the main beneficiaries of her estate so that the work she believes is so important can continue into the future.


For me, I give because of the leadership and the quality, character, and moral convictions of the people who have been leading for almost as long as I’ve been involved. Jeremy Madsen epitomizes the character and the inspiration of Greenbelt Alliance. And founder Dorothy Erskine was the brain, heart, and soul of the organization. She brought the notion of central planning, and that a planned world will be better for more people than an unplanned world.

“The other reason to give is that this is the one organization that answers the tough questions of what to do about water, population growth, land use, moving people around, and accommodating farms and small towns. They look at it all and try to put together recommendations that encompass everything. There is never a single right answer. But Greenbelt Alliance is not afraid to tackle that complexity for the entire Bay Area. At this magnitude, we may never totally have the right answer—but we can get close. And we can keep moving in the right direction. Yeah, Greenbelt Alliance is just amazing, just awesome.”

You can join Margaret in securing the future of the Bay Area by naming Greenbelt Alliance in your will or trust.

Photos: Megan Toth

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