Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

From the devastating impacts of climate change that are already being felt across the region to the urgent need for housing and climate-smart development—Greenbelt Alliance is coming up with creative solutions to keep communities safe and position our most vulnerable neighbors at the center of our actions. We need to summon our inner “superpowers” to solidify our vision and work together to build a climate-resilient Bay Area.

Each year we bring people together to celebrate this critical work. And what better way to do that than to highlight the champions among us who are working every day, often behind the scenes, to build a better Bay Area for all?

On September 30, Greenbelt alliance presents Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt, a virtual benefit that honors the bold leaders in local government working to ensure greater climate resilience for the Bay Area. During the virtual celebration, we premiere three short films that tell the stories of these heroes and highlight the impact they’re making in communities throughout the region.

The hidden heroes

This year’s Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt awards are being given to three extraordinary leaders from across the Bay Area whose stories are inspiring and contribution to climate and land-use policies will leave a legacy of positive impact in the region:

Hidden Hero of the Greenbelt recognized for fostering nature-based climate adaptation

Climate & Agriculture Programs Manager & Agricultural Ombudsman, San Mateo Resource Conservation District

Adria Arko has been working to support and protect agricultural viability in a changing climate through her work with the San Mateo Resource Conservation District. Adria interfaces between local government staff and the county's food producers, providing farmers and ranchers with technical assistance and connecting them to the resources they need to empower them to implement nature based solutions to sequester carbon and adapt to climate change. Among her many achievements, Adria has worked locally, regionally, and statewide to remove regulatory, funding, and technical barriers to increase adoption of carbon-sequestering practices at scale; influence policy for effective State investments in this work; and partner with San Mateo County to develop a new chapter in its Climate Action Plan that incorporates actions that can be taken on agricultural lands. Because of Adria’s work, agricultural producers have become directly engaged in climate action while building resilience on their local family farms, nourishing the lands and people of San Mateo and beyond.

Hidden Hero of the Greenbelt recognized for planning for resilience

Policy Director of Mobility & Interagency Relations, Oakland Mayor’s Office

Warren Logan is a Bay Area transportation planner working with frontline communities that are most impacted by climate, safety, and land-use concerns to ensure that their voices are being heard. He works closely with the City of Oakland’s Department of Transportation, Public Works Department, and other Bay Area public agencies to develop strategies that advance the City’s vision for safe and sustainable transportation for everyone. Much of Warren’s work involves directly engaging with local constituents to hear their concerns and gather their input on urban and transit development efforts, then incorporating that input alongside climate resilience considerations into the City’s general plans, climate actions plans, hazard mitigation and safety efforts. Warren has been directly involved in the rollout of Oakland’s Slow Streets program, praised by many as heralding a new era in people-centric urban planning. Warren’s work is redefining how planners and policymakers can address the need for climate resilience while engaging the voice of the people in revolutionary new ways.

Hidden Hero of the Greenbelt recognized for promoting abundant climate-SMART housing

Executive Director, Renewal Enterprise District

Michelle Whitman is leading an innovative new effort to redefine climate-smart housing and urban infill development in downtown Santa Rosa in her role as director of the Renewal Enterprise District (RED), a joint city-county agency working to address the region’s chronic housing shortage. Formed in 2019 between the City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma, RED has been tasked with creating a new housing fund to encourage higher density, affordable housing projects in appropriately planned areas of Santa Rosa that are also in close proximity to transit stations. Michelle is navigating a complex set of stakeholders to pool critically needed funding resources together with an eye towards reimagining SMART—Sustainable, Mixed, Affordable, Resilient, Transit-Oriented—urban development in the heart of Santa Rosa. Her efforts are moving projects forward that are putting people and the environment at the center of affordability and climate-smart solutions.

You can be a hero too

We are all on a journey together to solve the common issues affecting our communities and our natural world. Everyone has a role to play, a contribution to offer, and something unique to deliver toward a solution. Our Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt event is Greenbelt Alliance’s biggest fundraising event of the year. For this year’s event, we raised more than $250,000 in support of our work to educate, advocate, and collaborate to ensure the Bay Area’s lands and communities are resilient to a changing climate



Corporate Sponsors

Resilient Community Sponsors

Climate Advocacy Sponsors

Conservation Education Sponsors

Thriving Neighborhood Sponsors

Alta Housing | BART | Caltrain | EAH Housing | First Republic Bank | FM3 Research | Habitat for Humanity Bay Area | Hanson Bridgett LLP | Hassell | HOK | Lowe | Metropolitan Transportation Commission | Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California | O’Brien Homes | Page & Turnbull | Perkins&Will | Samtrans | SOMO Living | Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District | TBWBH Props & Measures / Clean Sweep Campaigns | The Morley Bros.| The Nature Conservancy | Wilson Meany | Windy Hill Property Ventures

Individual Sponsors

Climate Advocacy Sponsors

Lynne Deegan-McGraw | Elliot Evers |Craig Hartman & Jan O’Brien | Jon & Kitty Harvey | Laney & Pasha Thornton | Diane Wilsey

Conservation Education Sponsors

Stefan & Kathryn Bewley | Linda Jo Fitz | Lydia & Doug Shorenstein Foundation

Natural Lands Sponsors

Linda & Andrew Ach | Nancy Adler & Arnold Milstein | John & Jean Brennan | Patricia Dinner | Laurel Prevetti and Bob Hawn | Robert Johnson | John & Leslie McQuown | Aaron Money | Jean Schulz | Joe Sherman | Michele and Richard Stratton | Dee Swanhuyser

Thriving Neighborhood Sponsors

Janet Brown | Claudine Cheng | Roland Dreier & Bina Bhattacharyya | Jason Fish & Courtney Benoist | Carolyn Zecca Ferris & Timothy Ferris | Karen Grove| David Hearth & Lauren Hall | Caryl Hart | John Hooper | Robert Lawrence | Hollis Lenderking | Jake & Barbara Mackenzie | Dan Marks & Cheryl Armstrong | Anu Natarajan | Robert & Patricia Raburn | Tom Robertson & Jody Jahn | Michael Stevens & Debbie Brown


To thank you for your sponsorship, we’ve teamed up with Bay Area vineyards and farms to bring you a special monthly gift from the greenbelt from our following partners—supporting local businesses and their ability to thrive. If you pledge $1,000 or more*, you will receive a selection of gifts every month. (*Learn more about the terms and conditions)


With your support, we're driving bold climate leadership where we need it the most, right now.

Please donate today.

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