Former chief of Save the Redwoods League takes reins on September 16
SANTA MONICA, Calif. –Veteran environmental leader Ruskin Hartley has been named chief executive officer of Heal the Bay, the Southern California nonprofit group announced today.
Hartley comes to Heal the Bay after a six-year stint as executive director and secretary of the Save the Redwoods League, the San Francisco-based organization focused on studying, restoring and protecting old-growth forests in California. The British-born Hartley held several management positions at the League, which he joined in 1998.
Trained as a geographer at Cambridge University in England, Ruskin expanded the League’s reputation as a conservation leader, widening its work into ecological science and youth education programs. Under his leadership, the League protected 70,000 acres of redwood forest, raised $100 million of public and private support and launched the Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative that studies the effects of global warming on ancient forests.
Heal the Bay’s board of directors selected Hartley after an extensive national search, noting his proven track record of science-based advocacy, effective fundraising and savvy partnership building.
“Ruskin Hartley is a leader who will inspire, motivate and lead Heal the Bay’s talented staff,” said Stephanie Medina, chairman of Heal the Bay’s Board of Directors. “He’s a noted speaker on environmental issues with a collaborative science-based conservation orientation. His skill as a strategic planner and his ability to bring vision and clarity to our mission will support Heal the Bay’s reputation as an environmental champion.”
His immediate focus will be leading the organization through its next five-year strategic plan, growing general membership and developing new fundraising models, Medina said.
With a mission that encompasses urban planning, water conservation and ocean protection in one of the world’s largest metropolises, Heal the Bay is uniquely positioned to devise integrated policy solutions that can be applied to other cities globally, Hartley said.
“It was an honor and a calling to help protect ancient redwoods – one of California’s true natural icons,” Hartley said. “I couldn’t be more excited to join Heal the Bay and help protect some other special places --- our beaches and oceans.”
In assembling a new management structure for Heal the Bay, the board named Alix Hobbs as Associate Director for the 28-year-old organization. Hobbs, who has held several management roles at the nonprofit, has served as interim executive director since last September.
Under Ruskin and Hobbs’ direction, Heal the Bay staff will focus on four key policy issues this year:
Advocating for the implementation of a strong stormwater permit for L.A. County to ensure that polluted runoff is adequately controlled and regional waterbodies are protected.
Working to uphold the moratorium on oil drilling in Hermosa Beach, which Heal the Bay helped establish in the late 1990s and will be reconsidered in 2014.
Developing a predictive beach water quality model to provide ocean-users with a more timely assessment of potential bacterial pollution at their favorite beaches.
Consulting with local governments to advance policies that will help coastal communities in Los Angeles adapt to the future stressors associated with climate change, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification and beach erosion.
More About Ruskin Hartley
Before joining the Redwoods League, he served as an environmental planner in Southern California. He also has overseas experience, modeling large-scale groundwater recharge projects in Oman and serving as a planner on Kuwait’s third Master Plan examining post-war reconstruction. He also posts frequently to his blog at RuskinKHartley.com and his @RuskinHartley Twitter account.
About Heal the Bay
Heal the Bay is a Santa Monica-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting the health and safety of Southern California’s beaches and ocean. The organization has a 28-year track record of using sound science, reasoned advocacy and community engagement to help solve local environmental issues. The group issues water quality grades for more than 500 beaches each week, conducts numerous volunteer beach and neighborhood cleanups, and operates the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, among many other programs. It has nearly 15,000 members and an operating budget of more than $4 million.
Contact: Matthew King, Heal the Bay, (310) 451-1500, x 137; cell 310-463-6266