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Teri Shore of Greenbelt Alliance recognized with award

Teri Shore, a Sonoma Valley resident who spearheaded the 2016 drive to pass Measure K which tripled the amount of community separator open space protected by law, has been named Environmentalist of the Year by the Sonoma County Conservation Council.

She will receive the Ernestine I. Smith Award at the organization's annual gala, on June 10, where Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will be the featured speaker.

“It's really moving to be being recognized by the environment community, which is my tribe,” said Shore, the North Bay Regional Director of the Greenbelt Alliance. Shore is also a former reporter for the Sonoma Index-Tribune, where she worked from 1988 to 1990.

But environmentalism has been her mission since 1996, says Shore, when she became “outraged” by a state initiative that would have allowed trophy hunting of mountain lions. “I did volunteer work to stop the initiative – I helped set up forums at the library, I wrote letters to the editor, I worked with the community on the initiative, and we defeated it,” she remembers with satisfaction. “I realized that's what I wanted to do with my life, and I quit my job and decided to dedicate the rest of my life to working for the environment.”

She began her green education working as a canvasser for Greenpeace International, then directed oceans campaigns at Friends of the Earth, and served as program director at Turtle Island Restoration Network.

She became the regional director of the Greenbelt Alliance in 2015, and set to work codifying an increased amount of acreage to set aside as protected “community separators,” under a program the county supervisors had set up in the mid-1980s with first Sonoma County General Plan. “Sonoma County has been a leader for a long time in protecting open space,” said Shore.

The 2016 initiative that Shore worked to pass reaffirmed voter protection for the system, meaning it would take a majority vote to overturn protected status for any community separator – an area between the cities and towns that are preserved as agricultural land or open space. The initiative also increased the total size of community separators from some 17,000 acres to 53,576 acres of open space and farmlands, protected from subdivision and sprawl.

An avid backpacker and wilderness advocate, Shore also leads Sierra Club backpack trips for the San Francisco Bay Chapter. In July 2014, she solo through-hiked the John Muir Trail in the Sierras over 21 days to mark the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.

“Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley have been leaders in protection our landscape, our open space, but we still have a lot of work to do,” said Shore. “The Greenbelt Alliance At-Risk Report identifies 54,000 acres in Sonoma County that are still at risk for development over the next 30 years. We still have more work to do to protect our open space – and to make changes in the way we live, in the face of a changing climate.”

“It's a great thing for Teri to be recognized!” said Richard Dale, director of the Sonoma Ecology Center. “She's been a strong advocate for environmental protection for years around the Bay Area. We're fortunate that she chose to focus back on Sonoma County for Greenbelt, and her work on the campaign for Measure K was stellar.”

Previous winners of the Ernestine I. Smith Award include Anne Teller of Glen Ellen's Oak Hill Farm, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, and Marty Griffin. It's named for a key activist with the Madrone Audubon Society, Sonoma County Conservation Council, Sonoma County Tomorrow and Sonoma Valley's Bouverie Preserve. Smith died in 2015 at the age of 100.

Four other Sonoma County environmentalists will be recognized along with Shore at the Sonoma County Conservation Action annual gala, including Caryl Hart, the retiring director of Sonoma County Regional Parks, who will receive the 2017 “Upstream Swimmer” award.

The gala will be held Saturday, June 10, at the newly remodeled Friedman Center, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. Tickets, sponsorship and more information available at conservationaction.org/gala/

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