Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is excited to announce the appointment of new leadership with Co-Executive Directors Erin Tarr and Erika Seward, who are now officially at the helm of the organization as it heads into its 29th year.
With a talented and passionate team at their side – made up of loyal staff members, Board of Directors and community supporters and volunteers – the two have big plans for the future.
“Bear Yuba Land Trust is here to protect clean air, water and soil for all of us, open space for wildlife, beautiful places to recreate outdoors, and support for farmers and ranchers who provide a healthy local food supply, “ said Erika Seward, who joined the Land Trust last fall. “This is our home – one that is diverse, complex and plays a significant role in the State.”
Erin Tarr, who has been with BYLT’s land stewardship department for nearly seven years, continued “Our work is more important now than ever. Together, as a community, we will strive to protect our working and natural landscapes and enhance outdoor recreation. This work will influence the quality-of-life in Nevada County forever.”
The Land Trust shows no signs of slowing down and is on target with a goal of conserving 20,000 acres by 2020. A new strategic plan outlines a portfolio showing protected land that is doubling in size with the conservation of upper watershed lands and the historic Penn Valley agricultural land, Robinson Ranch.
In recent months, BYLT has permanently protected 857 acres surrounding five alpine reservoirs known as Lindsey Lakes Conservation Easement in the Grouse Ridge area of the Sierra Nevada. BYLT is a key player in the planning and construction of Pines to Mines Trail, an 80-mile multi-use trail that will link the towns of Nevada City and Truckee. BYLT continues to expand outdoor recreational amenities at Rice’s Crossing Preserve, spanning 2,700 acres and six miles of the Yuba River between Bullard’s Bar Reservoir and South Yuba River State Park at Bridgeport. Rangeland health is the main focus at Garden Bar Preserve, a 652-acre working cattle ranch on the Bear River, where regenerative grazing is happening.
Seward and Tarr bring decades of experience in conservation and business management, plus a new energy to BYLT. Following former Executive Director Marty Coleman-Hunt’s exit, the two spent several months working with the Board of Directors to outline an innovative plan for leading the community-supported organization that is poised for significant growth. To date, BYLT has protected more than 15,000 acres of land from development, built more than 30 miles of local trails and gets hundreds of people outdoors to experience quality nature programs.. The two directors are eager to hear from the community and share their passion for land conservation. Future dates will be announced for community dialogues
GET TO KNOW THE DIRECTORS:
Erin Tarr, Co-Exec Director, Conservation & Stewardship
From an early age, Tarr had a knack for adventure. Whether it was exploring the rolling hills and wide rivers in her home state of Iowa or backpacking in the Tetons with her family, she loved to see new places and was deeply impacted by the beauty of open spaces. Upon graduating high school, she followed her passion for exploration and moved to Colorado, where outdoor adventures were around every corner.
In 2003, Tarr and her family moved to Northern California where she received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from CSU Sacramento. She then worked with the California Department of Fish and Game on the American, Mokelumne, Cosumnes and Sacramento Rivers collecting data on fish populations. During a job with The Nature Conservancy at the Cosumnes River Preserve, Tarr spent a year exploring and documenting the vegetation of vernal pools, riparian forests and rangeland on their 40,000 acres of protected lands.
Tarr worked at Placer Land Trust in Auburn as a stewardship assistant before finding a permanent position as stewardship manager for BYLT. She and her husband, Kacy have three children and spend their free time on extended road trips exploring open spaces of The West.
“What makes BYLT such an essential organization in our community is our ability to protect important lands from being developed by using both conservation easements and fee title ownership. Landowners can keep their working lands productive while also protecting wildlife habitat and migration corridors. We are also able to protect public access to nature by holding trail easements on private lands. Those functions are necessary to ensure we have a thriving community well into the future. We’re staying true to our roots by working closely with our community to conserve our quality-of-life.“
Erika Seward, Co-Exec Director, Operations & Development
Erika fell in love with all things travel and the outdoors at an early age. Growing up in sunny Central Florida, most days were spent hiking trails, recreating on lakes and rivers or with weekend trips to the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Summers were marked by road trips up to Northern Virginia to visit the family farm where her mother was raised. A natural talent for soccer propelled her along the competitive athlete path and would influence her professional career, which began at ESPN while attending the University of Kansas for biology / sports science followed by a Master’s of Science in Education.
During Erika’s tenure with ESPN, she served on the executive team that built brands and promotional strategies for the NFL, PGA Tour, and X Games as well as oversight of corporate synergy across the Walt Disney Company’s entire portfolio. After a decade in sports and entertainment, Erika gained a strong appreciation for the power of media and decided to transfer her corporate experience to non-profits in order to impact positive change. She has since consulted with grassroots and national organizations focused on issues such as homelessness, the environment, and women’s health, including the SIMA Humanitarian Fund, ProgressNow, Heal the Bay, Stop Hermosa Beach Oil, City of Hermosa Beach and more. She spent five years as Executive Director for Boarding for Breast Cancer in Los Angeles and is credited with elevating the cause with the support of professional athletes, Olympians, and global brands through purpose-driven content including two publications and an award-winning documentary.
In 2015, Seward moved to Nevada City to raise her young children and be closer to family and nature. She has since served in leadership roles with KVMR, Yuba River Charter School Education Foundation and the Nevada City Film Festival before joining the team at Bear Yuba Land Trust.
“It’s no secret that we live in a very special place; inevitably outside pressures and interests will continue to rise. With that, there is an incredible opportunity to share the story of our people and lands, so that we may all gain a deeper appreciation of what is authentic to our region and why preservation is vital.”