Personal Reflections on the Life of Jonathan Glass, Memorial Date and Tribute Info

Personal Reflections on the Life of Jonathan Glass, Memorial Date and Tribute Info

 

Craig & Jag

As our hearts and heads ache here at LandPaths for the loss of our friend and colleague, we are also pausing to reflect on Jonathan’s work, to recollect, even to laugh as we are able.  Laughter heals, after all.  

News that many have awaited:A Public Memorial for Jonathan Glass will be held on Saturday, March 23, at the Friedman Center in Santa Rosa, 4676 Mayette Avenue.  The Program will begin at 2:00pm with a reception to follow.

As for my own personal reflections on Jonathan’s time here at LandPaths – going back a good ten years and spanning volunteer time with our education program (assisting his mother, Linda, a celebrated Santa Rosa elementary school teacher) up through his beginning the job of Operations Director last year – it is difficult to capture the literally thousands of hours we spent together, vis-à-vis night meetings with agendas at times crafted while negotiating tight corners on west county roads, work days, office strategy meetings, in addition to the trips across the country to present papers on LandPaths work at a series of national conferences.

The past 7 years of Jonathan’s tenure with LandPaths has kept him in the field, in meetings and on the phone – the “capitan” of his own domains.  The first three plus years, however, of his career we spent as my nearly constant companions as I passed him the baton on both the Public Outings program (which continues to celebrate lands protected by our county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District) and later the management of public access and “people-powered” stewardship of the newly forming Willow Creek State Park addition.    

I brought to this duo the stories, strategy and package of values that LandPaths founders, and then soon after the new co-directors of this effort – Strategic Director Lee Hackeling and myself – felt important in making our projects have the “heart and there there” specific to LandPaths.  Jonathan brought his outdoor trip leading skills from UC Davis and his wide-open-heart interest in people and the planet.  In the end, he surpassed my number of field hours and field trips with LandPaths, and he did that because he excelled at them so well that I was confident in retreating to the office, various agency meetings and landowners’ living rooms to expedite deals for new parks, preserves, programs, horizons (Bayer Farm, Bohemia, Riddell Preserve, Rancho Mark West, etc).  I could do this, in no small part, because I knew our people would be safe and the quality of the programs high under Jonathan’s leadership.  

Several vignettes I recalled with fondness this past week when asked by Chris Smith for his column in last Sunday’s Press Democrat.  The first was when I had to stay in Sonoma County on the day that California State Parks and the State Finance Director asked me to testify in Sacramento to state with no equivocation, “if you accept Willow Creek in the dept of General Services / State Park, we will manage it for you.”  My wife, Lee, was 8 and a half months pregnant with our second child, and a road trip to Sacramento was out of the question.  Jonathan was already proving himself as able to take on the bulk, if not all, of the Willow Creek operations, and so he was the ideal candidate to head to the state capitol. 

Thus, the day that I was staying close to home – which meant taking his place on a site stewardship project with 50 phenomenal volunteers removing a relic trash dump from the side of Coleman Valley Road – (a condition to be fulfilled so that escrow could be closed) – Jonathan drove to Sacramento to testify on my and LandPaths behalf to essentially, ‘accept the property.’ 

He must have been a sight, with his long hair, beard, and my borrowed blazer (he didn’t own one at the time).  I still have that blazer. 

Although LandPaths gets accolades locally for its brand and means of engaging the community with land, it is more on the regional and national scene where it receives credit for innovative models in public engagement with land working and wild.  When pushed we would probably suffice to say that we take the risk by allowing the people to direct us. A New York Times article last November and the current “Land Trust Alliance” president’s message are testament to this interest in our work – which is Sonoma County specific – but has ramifications beyond our county’s one million acres.  At the annual Land Trust Alliance conference (2000+ attendees from around the world) we have been fortunate to present now more times than I can recall. 

Until Jonathan arrived, I made these presentations solo.  Once we began working more closely we traveled together to attend and present at these conferences, to Portland with a group of our staff, and later the two of us to Nashville TN and Madison, WI.  On the trip to Portland, now all the more memorable because of Jonathan’s passing, we took off from Charles Schulz and were looking out the window at the sunset as the volcanoes started to parade past the right wing tip of our SMALL aircraft.  “There’s Lassen” one of us said, “oh, Shasta!  No…no, Mount Hood it is!”. Back to working on the Powerpoint that we would present the next morning to 150 people, punctuated by “Mt Rainier!” 

If you have to create a Powerpoint presentation, I suppose there are few places better to do it and few people more suited to share his love of land AND people than with Jonathan Glass. 

Ultimately, more than his volunteer work for various community and larger human interests, and deeper even than it being a part of his work this past ten years with LandPaths, Jonathan was someone who insisted that all of the people have access to their land.  When LandPaths founded the Bayer Farm & Community Gardens as a publicly-accessible park in Roseland, a district in Santa Rosa’s urban and underserved urban heart, Jonathan was especially proud of providing access to open space for people from cultural groups traditionally under represented at most parks.  He attended one particular festival at the site as a participant, with his young daughter Eden, and wrote…

From: Jonathan Glass [mailto:jonathan@landpaths.org
Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 4:57 PM
To: Craig; 'Lee'; 'Magdalena';

Subject: Rockin' the Fark

I know you’ve probably heard it already from many others, but you guys rocked Roseland on Sunday!  Eden and I pulled up at about 1:30 and saw a steady stream of folks heading from both directions into the Fark (“farm based park”) – a stream that was only just beginning to lessen when I left at 3:30.  Families galore, beautiful dancing, arts and crafts, gourmet quesadillas with on-site greens and pedal-powered salsa – way more than I was expecting, and I share an office with you all.

I really enjoyed the community spirit and was proud to be wearing a LandPaths cap.  One of the toppers to a great day was watching a father (perhaps a farmer himself) pointing out to his son in Spanish the different crops that were growing. The garden and local food concept seemed to capture the interest of many…

jag

So I write with heavy heart, and yet a heart brimming with admiration for a short but successful career in helping his community…farewell gentle leader, leader of hikers on trips short and exhausting, of volunteers pulling rusty fence posts to open the meadows, of trail cutters and culvert maintainers, oh flipper of buttermilk pancakes on LandPaths campouts (even if the pancakes seemed routinely blackened beyond my tastes); may your trail forward be the lighter and the good works you have sewn lighten the loads of others for some time to come. 

 

Craig Anderson, Executive Director

 

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A lasting and fitting tribute to Jonathan Glass is already being discussed and will be developed by LandPaths at one of its preserves.  At some point in the future following both Jonathan’s memorial and an opportunity to discuss our ideas with his family we will unveil this idea to our community.

To support Jonathan’s wife and daughter in the wake of Jonathan’s passing, their family has set up a memorial fund to help Amie and Eden Rose Glass with personal expenses.  You can find more information on this fund by following this link:

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/Jonathan-Glass-Memorial-Family-Fund/44212

Posted at 16:17

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