The NatureBridge Gala was Ga-lorious! ... .
It was held in San Francisco at the Bently Reserve, the beautiful historic building on Battery Street in the Financial District. I gave the keynote address, followed by a speech by Dylan Lew, a handsome young high school student being honored as this year's most outstanding participant in the environmental program for youth. We made a great team, and I plan to be watching his rise in the Movement as he spreads his wings over the years to come.
Despite the headlines, hope springs eternal each time I find myself before audiences of such idealistic and energetic people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities; those drawn to the environmental movement.
Last summer I was invited as a panelist to the Telluride Mountain Film Festival where I found myself both surprised and delighted with that crowd of the fit and tanned young men and women who people that world -- when they're not climbing mountains, filming great white sharks, skiing down impossible slopes, probing the bottom of the sea, and saving endangered species while filming it all for the rest of us. They seem to be doing all that good stuff that we ordinary folks don't have either the time or the financial resources to take on. Came home thankful for the One Percenters, and vowed to silently support their efforts whenever and wherever possible.
I felt somewhat the same way at the NatureBridge Gala. That evening they raised $750,000 at their annual auction. I tried to keep my eyebrows from rising to my hairline when a man at our table bid $50,000 on an item!
I know of the incredibly valuable work this organization provides -- an environmental education for thousands of school children every year; children from K through 12. It is an amazing program that perfectly meshes with that of our National Park Service.
Our Rosie's Girls -- a summer program sponsored by our park that introduces middle school girls to non-traditional roles in the work place -- and that features two 3-week sessions that ends with a weekend trip to Yosemite -- which is fully funded by NatureBridge. There is no cost to students which allows many to experience the wilderness for the very first time. Some of our inner-city participants who have lived in the coastal Bay Area for their entire young lives, have never seen the Pacific Ocean.
It is impossible to be depressed despite current headlines when moving around in circles of great minds doing great things with the zest of a people who share an uncompromising expectation of a world that fully intends to meet its challenges and prevail.
I do believe ... .