Rangelands are where my heart is centered. Oak Savannah is the landscape that makes my spirit happiest. Though there are several places on the globe where one may find similar landscapes, (think: Andalusia, Spain) the Central Coast of California is one of the most special areas for oak savannah and rangeland in the world. My degree focus at UC Berkeley was on land and water conservation policy, and I use my degree today to serve on the Legacy Council with the California Rangeland Trust.
Ranching and farming are integral to the history and the fabric of the community on the Central Coast. My family owned a working cattle ranch for 73 years, spanning five generations, in one of the most beautiful places on earth: the Santa Ynez Valley. Although we no longer own the parcels of land that formed our horse pastures, hay fields, corrals, barns, ranch house, gardens, orchard and cattle grazing land, my forever "home" is there, and always will be, every time I close my eyes. The land doesn't belong to me, and it really never did; but I do belong to that land and always will
For more reading on this topic, please check out this Rancher Profile interview that was written for the Agrarian Trust by Brooke Werley, about the phenomenon of land loss and land grief among ranching families. You can also visit the California Rangeland Trust to learn more about their work. Consider making a donation. If you do, you have my deep appreciation.