Insider Speaker Series   | Cal Parks

Insider Speaker Series  


Insider Speaker Series   

These virtual events will be for members and donors of California State Parks Foundation to learn more about a topic the organization is working on in California state parks. They will hear from experts in the field that will give multiple perspectives on a topic. There will be questions for the panel from California State Parks Foundation, as well as time for questions from attendees to ask the speakers. Members of the Californians Leadership Circle Park Steward level ($2,500+ and above) will be invited to a meet-and-greet session after the event to ask questions and get to know the speakers. Each event will be around lunchtime and last one hour for the general session, and 30 minutes for the additional meet-and-greet.  

Upcoming Events 

Insider Speaker Series: Moving From Reactive to Prepared    

September 22, 2022  

Californians have now come to expect wildfires every summer, making sure they have packed “go bags,” prepared for public safety power shutoffs, and stocked up on protective masks to guard against unhealthy air quality. It’s the new normal none of us wanted to confront: a warmer, drier climate, plus fuel buildup in forests and open spaces due to decades of fire suppression, equals bigger, deadlier, and more frequent fires.     

In 2020, the California state parks impacted by wildfires needed immediate aid, so California State Parks Foundation raised money for the Wildfire Resiliency and Prevention Fund. The response from donors was incredible and speaks to how cherished these places are. In 2021, California State Parks Foundation raised money yet again for the Wildfire Resiliency and Prevention Fund, and now in 2022 will be raising funds focusing on wildfire preparedness.   

Join California State Parks Foundation and experts to talk about what it looks like moving from reacting to wildfires to being prepared.   



Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest and Wildland Resilience at the California Natural Resources Agency   

She is coordinating California’s approach to wildfire resilience including increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration and vegetation treatment.  Jessica was the architect of the Governor’s $1.5 billion wildfire resilience strategy and developed the joint forest stewardship strategy between California and the US Forest Service signed in 2020.  


Assemblymember Steve Bennett  

Assemblymember Bennett launched his bid for the Assembly with a recognition that the window to effectively address climate change is rapidly closing. His first climate change efforts focus on improving the storage capacity of renewable energy, which is an essential step to achieving the goal of 100% renewable energy.  


Steve Auten (Auten Resource Consulting)  

Steve and ARC staff have been working in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, Butano State Park, and Año Nuevo State Park following the CZU Lightning Complex wildfire of 2020. Their role has been to work with California State Park staff, conduct field investigations considering current forest conditions, make vegetation and tree treatment recommendations, develop a forest management plan, and apply for permits to implement ecologically restorative treatments across the three state parks.  

Tim Hyland, Natural Resource Program Manager 

Tim Hyland is the Natural Resource Program Manager for the Santa Cruz District of California State Parks. Born in San Jose he has spent the last 27 years helping to protect the incredible biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains found in our local State Parks. During that time, he has assisted in and currently directs the prescribed fire program for the district. Helping to maintain various ecosystems by reintroducing fire to redwood forest, coastal prairie and rare sand hills chaparral. 


Insider Speaker Series: An Ideal Home for Monarchs   

November 2022  

The western monarch is arguably one of the most recognizable butterflies in California.    

Hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) rely on the forested groves of the Pacific coast stretching from Mendocino County, California to Baja to overwinter. In the 1980s, an estimated 4.5 million butterflies migrated to the coast annually. However, by the mid-2010s, the population declined to 200-300 thousand butterflies. And in both 2018 and 2019, volunteers counted under 30,000 monarchs — less than 1% of the population’s historic size. In 2020, volunteers counted less than 2,000 monarchs — that’s less than 0.01% of the historic size.  While the 2021 count is overwhelmingly positive, the population has still plummeted from historic numbers.

The California state park system holds critical habitat for western monarchs – providing shelter and protection for this iconic species. State parks are home to key monarch overwintering sites and located along important migration routes. These places provide the appropriate microclimate conditions for clustering, as well as providing nectar resources and minimizing stressors to the butterflies.  

Over the past year, California State Parks Foundation has invested in helping specific California state parks with their Monarch Butterfly Overwintering Site Management Plans. This year, the focus will be on creating the ideal home for monarch butterflies in California state parks.   

Join California State Parks Foundation and experts to talk about what it takes to make an ideal home for monarch butterflies.   


Insider Speaker Series: Improving the Park Experience   

February 2023  

Most people remember the first time they visited a spectacular wilderness park, camped outdoors, or toured a fascinating historical site that brought the past to life.      

To spark a desire to return and keep exploring, visitors must forge a lifelong connection to parks. That first experience must be positive and meaningful. The signage should be clear; the interpreter leading the tour should be welcoming and knowledgeable; the trail should be navigable; the restrooms should be clean; and the vistas, habitats, and natural beauty should be unspoiled.      

In contrast, if first experiences are spoiled by inadequate infrastructure or programming, a first-time visitor is unlikely to want to return.       

A public park system that does not offer positive experiences to all members of the public is one that will fail to attract loyal visitors and investment. California State Parks Foundation has consistently fought to ensure that a visit to a state park is an invitation to return.   

Join California State Parks Foundation and experts to talk about strategies to make park experiences positive and meaningful.   


Insider Speaker Series: Trails for All  

June 2023  

With 279 state parks and 5,200 miles of trails, California state parks contain the largest and most diverse recreational, natural, and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation.   

California State Parks Foundation believes that the enjoyment of California state parks should be for everyone, which is often experienced by exploring trails. Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or are looking for a leisurely stroll, a trail leads the way. And between the state’s beaches, deserts, redwood forests, and mountains, there’s a landscape for everyone too.     

Although many trails are present in parks, they may not be safe or accessible for all. And while a trail can just be that, a trail, there are also opportunities to create dynamic trails that allow for a deeper experience to learn.    

Through our Trails for All initiative, we are working to improve trails in both urban and rural settings for people of all ages, interests, skills, and physical abilities. This initiative promotes the enjoyment and appreciation of trails while encouraging greater public access.    

Join California State Parks Foundation and experts to talk about solutions to make trails for everyone.