Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt

SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

Virtual Event: 12 – 1 p.m. (free to the public)

In-Person Celebration, CA Academy of Sciences: 6 – 7:30 p.m. (ticketed event)

Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt is a benefit for Greenbelt Alliance that honors local climate champions who have been engaged in extraordinary work at the intersection of land use and climate change here in the Bay Area.

The Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt Awards recognize the often unseen, dedicated government staff who work behind the scenes to champion climate-smart plans, policies, and actions in our communities. Their stories are inspiring and their contribution will leave a legacy of positive impact throughout the region. Learn more about our 2021 Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt event here.

On September 29, from 12 – 1 p.m., we will premiere three short films that tell the stories of these heroes, highlighting the impact they’re making in communities across the Bay Area. That evening, from 6 – 7:30 p.m., we are also hosting an in-person celebration at the California Academy of Sciences for our sponsors. Stay tuned to get the link to RSVP to the virtual event. For the in-person celebration, please see our sponsorship opportunities below.  We hope you are able to join us for either (or both!) of these opportunities and that you will invite your friends and family to come along for a toast in support of our work to create a more climate-resilient 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:

Nature-Based Climate Adaptation Hidden Hero
Christine Reed Hidden Hero 2022

Battalion Chief / Fire Marshal for the Central County Fire Department

Christine Reed is the Battalion Chief / Fire Marshal for the Central County Fire Department, and also serves the City of Burlingame, City of Millbrae, and the Town of Hillsborough. Born and raised in San Mateo County, and with 31 years in the fire service, Christine is dedicated to doing what she can, in her own way, to keep her community safe.

With wildfires worsening across the state, Christine saw that places like Hillsborough, where 70% of homes were at significant fire risk due to their proximity to wildland vegetation, known as the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), needed support to build resilience. So she created the community Wildland Urban Interface Protection Program, which includes educational materials and public information, comprehensive inspections for each of the 2,840 properties in the WUI, and an ongoing collaborative partnership with Hillsborough Firewise and the Town to support the community's goal for a firesafe Hillsborough. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Christine and her team successfully implemented this program, leading to successful inspections of all properties in 2021.

Christine Reed’s vision and leadership skills has had a profound impact on the communities she serves. Through a collaborative, educational approach, Christine’s work is an inspiration for how places throughout the region, state, and nation, can use nature to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Planning for Resilience Hidden Hero

Sustainability Manager at the City of San Leandro

Dr. Hoi-Fei Mok is the Sustainability Manager at City of San Leandro, leading the implementation of the Climate Action Plan and other sustainability programs. With a strong interdisciplinary background in environmental science, climate policy, and social justice, Fei aims to build out equitable community-driven strategies for local resilience to climate change. One such strategy has involved working with 100k Trees for Humanity to create a canopy of shade that will reduce the city’s carbon footprint as well as bring shade and greenery into San Leandro. Fei also serves on the California Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) Climate Network, the National Adaptation Forum equity advisory committee, and the Bay Area Climate Adaptation Network (BayCAN) equity working group.

Prior to this role, Fei was the climate equity lead at ICLEI USA, managing local environmental justice partnerships and providing technical assistance to local governments around climate action planning, adaptation, greenhouse gas (GHG) inventorying, and renewable energy. They developed climate action planning and GHG inventorying curriculum for the California Statewide Energy Efficiency Collaborative (SEEC) and served on the equity advisory committee for the 2018 California Adaptation Forum. Other work included climate and food justice research; substantial ecological field research in Costa Rica, Tibet, and Australia; and community organizing and art with queer trans people of color organizations in Australia and the Bay Area.

Dr. Hoi-Fei Mok’s commitment to environmental justice, equity, and inclusion is reflected throughout their career and the impact they’ve made both locally and globally. This level of dedication is inspiring and will be instrumental to truly build resilience to climate change.

Abundant Climate-Smart Housing Hidden Hero

Community Development Director at the City of Vacaville

Erin Morris’s passion for affordable housing can be seen throughout her 20+ years of work in city planning. She got her start with the City of San José, where she worked on several neighborhood revitalization plans. In Santa Rosa, she not only brought new homes to the community, but she was also instrumental in the City’s decision to deny a mobile home park conversion that would have displaced low income seniors from a 178 unit senior park. In Napa, she saw numerous affordable housing projects through the development review process, including the Heritage House/Valle Verde supportive housing project, Stoddard West, Manzanita Family Apartments, and Caritas.

Erin became the Community Development Director at the City of Vacaville in August, 2021. In just under a year, she has already made strides for equitable housing. Among the many housing-related projects she’s been responsible for, Erin has been essential to the Greentree Specific Plan. Through complex coordination and effective collaboration, Erin has creatively and thoughtfully organized limited city staff resources to bring this project to fruition. As a result, the Greentree Specific Plan provide workforce housing that incorporates a wide range of effective climate-smart features including reducing the need for cars which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and improving walkability.

Erin’s vision for inclusive communities can be seen throughout the cities she’s worked in. Her dedication, creativity, and inclusive approach serve as a model for other planners, city staff, and decision makers to follow to ensure everyone in the Bay Area has a safe, resilient place to call home.

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, our goal is to raise $270,000 to support the critical work we do to educate, advocate, and collaborate to ensure the Bay Area’s lands and communities are resilient to a changing climate. You can help us reach this goal in the following ways: 

Individual Sponsorship

If you are an individual who is interested in sponsoring Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt, click the button below. 

For questions about individual sponsorship opportunities, please contact Nora Cullinen at ncullinen@greenbelt.org.

Business Sponsorship

If you are a business who is interested in sponsoring Hidden Heroes of the Greenbelt, click the button below. 

For questions about individual sponsorship opportunities, please contact Paris Badat at pbadat@greenbelt.org.

GET INSPIRED BY 2021'S HIDDEN HEROES

THANK YOU TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS

Corporate Sponsors

Climate Advocacy Sponsors

Conservation Education Sponsors

Thriving Neighborhood Sponsors

Baird + Driskell | Bay Area Habitat for Humanity | Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) | CMG Landscape Architecture | FM3 | Group I | Hanson Bridgett LLP | HOK | LendLease | MidPen Housing | Mithun | Nonprofit Housing Association of Northern California | San Mateo County Transit District | Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | San Francisco Giants | SMW | Somo Group | SummerHill Housing | The Nature Conservancy

Individual Sponsors

Honorary Co-Chairs

Matt & Janice Barger | Elliot Evers

Climate Advocacy Sponsors

Jon and Kitty Harvey

Conservation Education Sponsors

Stefan Bewley | Lynne Deegan-McGraw | Elliot Evers | Linda Jo Fitz

Natural Lands Sponsors

John & Leslie McQuown | Laurel Prevetti

Thriving Neighborhood Sponsors

John and Jean Brennan | Karen Grove | Joshua Hurwitz | Helen Hilton Raiser | Rob Lawrence | Kathryn & Aaron Money | Tom Robertson and Jody Jahn | Swanhuyser Family Trust

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