New JV Coordinator, Kelli McCune, Reflects on CA 30×30 Partnership Gathering

Recently codified as law, California’s Pathway to 30×30 lays out the vision for conserving 30% of California’s lands and waters by 2030. In October, conservationists from around California gathered in Riverside, CA at the 30×30 Partnership Gathering hosted by California Natural Resources Agency and the California Biodiversity Network. 

Below our new Joint Venture Coordinator, Kelli McCune, reflects on the learning she is carrying forward to apply toward achieving the JVs goals. (For background on 30×30, check out this post from Point Blue Conservation Science).  

One of my top priorities is to listen and learn as I begin my tenure at the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture. There was no better way to finish my first month than spending two days at the 30×30 Partnership Gathering doing just that. Here’s what I learned from the panel “Making the Impossible Possible.”

Lift our vision off of the page:

Beth Pratt (California Region Executive Director, National Wildlife Federation) spoke about how she had to “lift her vision off of the page” for designing and building the largest wildlife crossing in the world. The learning I gained is to connect with people, why they care about the habitats we are protecting, restoring and enhancing, and share stories to bring our 2022  Implementation Strategy – Restoring the Estuary to Benefit Wildlife and People to life each day as we move our collaborative work forward.

Be thoughtful about language:

Jade Stevens (Board President of 40 Acre Conservation League) clarified the distinction between impossible and improbable; impossible means not possible, whereas improbable is unlikely to happen. Jade’s revision of the panel title, “Making the Improbable Possible,” reflects a thoughtfulness about language and the importance of words, especially when it comes to conveying hope. 

Work on the side of hope:

 Julie Rentner (Executive Director of River Partners), when describing her team at River Partners, said “We have the depth on the bench to handle any challenge because we are on the side of hope.”  Together with many others, River Partners have provided hope to all of us by doubling the amount of riparian habitat across the Central Valley in the last 25 years, which has resulted in benefits for biodiversity and people.

Remain steadfast in our commitment to stewardship:

Shaunna McCovey (Director of Governmental Affairs at Resighini Rancheria and represented the Tribal Marine Stewards Network) spoke about the determination of Tribal Nations in creating the Tribal Marine Stewards Network so that Indigenous Peoples can lead stewardship of their ancestral territories, as they have since time immemorial. Shauna also shared about her inherent “responsibility to take care of what takes care of us.” The learning I am carrying forward is to honor her wisdom by remaining dedicated to taking care of nature through the collaborative efforts of the SFBV. 

As a closing, I’d like to offer an opening to reach out to me (kmccune AT and share your learning from the 30×30 Partnership Gathering. If you were not able to attend, I welcome your reflections on the learning I gained to hear what relates and differs to your experience and perspective. I look forward to connecting with you.