Bear Yuba Land Trust honors conservationists Janet Cohen and David Lawler

DSC_0756Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is counting down the days to the Oak Tree Bash, a fun event where the community will come together to recognize two lifetime conservationists – Janet Cohen and David Lawler. 

BYLT’s Annual Member Meeting and Leadership Awards will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at the historic North Star House, 12075 Auburn Road in Grass Valley.

During this intimate gathering, the Land Trust will honor Janet Cohen with the William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership and David Lawler with the John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award.

“Janet Cohen is one of the most effective conservation leaders I have ever known.  She is insightful, hardworking and very strategic – characteristics which she has deployed to bring millions of dollars to our region for practical projects that improve water quality and restore resiliency to our watershed,” said Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, Executive Director of The Sierra Fund and past award recipient.

janet2Janet Cohen is an experienced strategist for businesses, non-profits and government agencies, successfully securing tens of millions of dollars in grant funding for environmental causes. She was a key early player in the acquisition and conservation of BYLT’s largest landholding – 2,700 acre Rice’s Crossing Preserve on the Yuba River.

Cohen’s clients range from Nevada Irrigation District, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival and BriarPatch Co-op.

Prior to starting Community Action Partners and founding The Grant Farm, Janet worked six years as Executive Director of the South Yuba River Citizens League and for many small businesses in the Sierra region of California.

Cohen developed and coordinated the first Great Sierra River Clean Up for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, mobilizing thousands of volunteers throughout the region to clean up thousands of tons of trash in Sierra watersheds. She also wrote the first “Climate Change Toolkit” for the Sierra Nevada Alliance.

Cohen is the winner of the 2005 River Network River Hero Award and in 2003 led SYRCL when the group was awarded the California Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership.

David LawlerGeologist and Paleontologist David Lawler, is the Executive Director of Farwest Geoscience Foundation and longtime leader of BYLT’s most popular outings.

“David Lawler is a longtime BYLT Trek Leader, guiding several of the Land Trust’s most popular outings such as Chalk Bluff and Henness Pass. He has a wealth of knowledge that he translates into easy-to-understand layman’s terms.  A trek with David is always fascinating. His long commitment to the Land Trust, outdoor adventure and nature education made him a natural choice for this year’s award,” said Development and Program Manager Melony Vance.

Founded in 1990, Farwest Geoscience Foundation is an interdisciplinary group devoted to geoscience research and education in the Western Americas and internationally. The Foundation provides talks, field trips, walks, workshops and publications on geoscience. Lawler adopted the nickname “Dino Dave” after discovering the missing link dinosaur, Scutellosaurus lawleri.


Happy Hour; Upcoming Trail and Land Projects

At this Annual Meeting, the community will hear about expanded protection of lands in the upper watershed, updates on ongoing restoration work and new amenities like trails and youth opportunities.

Come hear about Bear Yuba Land Trust’s new trails at Clover Valley Preserve and Burton Homestead; land conservation projects like holistic ranching at Garden Bar Preserve and the Pollinator Project at Adam Ryan Preserve; upcoming treks and youth activities, volunteer opportunities and upcoming 2016 events like EcoKids and Celebration of Trails.

Talented Singer/ Songwriter Claire Fraser will provide live music while participants sample tasty appetizers and sip local wine from Coufos Cellars. Micro-brews from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will be served at a no host bar during Happy Hour.

About the Awards:

William “Bill” Nickerl devoted his life to land conservation in the California foothills. The William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership is given to Nevada County residents with a similar conservation ethic who inspire others to build a connection with the land.

Besides Nickerl, past award recipients include: Geri Bergen former Forest Supervisor at the Tahoe National Forest, long-time community and agricultural supporter John Taylor, Naturalist and Father of the Independence Trail John Olmsted, local conservation leader and land use planner Andy Cassano, Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, C.E.O of The Sierra Fund, Nevada County Farm Advisor Roger Ingram and Living Wild Author Alicia Funk.

The John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award is named in honor of John Skinner, former Forest Supervisor for the Tahoe National Forest. After retirement, Skinner followed his passion for hiking and trails through his writing of the popular book and online publication, “Sierra Outdoors Recreation.” A regular treks leader for the Land Trust, Skinner died in 2009. Past recipients include local archeologist/ author Hank Meals, co-founder of the Trust for Public Land Greg Archbald, wildflower expert author Julie Carville and BYLT Treks leader Clarence Motter.