New photos

I’ve uploaded some new (well, old actually) photos to Flickr and tagged them “Bay Area Action.” Please check ’em out, add any names or dates you can, comment, upload your own pics…

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Projects and Campaigns, 1990—2000

While the lines were often blurred over the years, a “project” usually meant an ongoing or long-term endeavor, often including more volunteers, infrastructure, and/or staff, such as Bay Area Earth Day, while a “campaign” usually had a short-term objective, such as the Measure M campaign.

Additionally, there were many endeavors over the years that were short-lived, but didn’t necessarily fit neatly under either term. These are listed at the very bottom of this list under “Other,” and include things such as notable fundraising efforts, publications, and events.

Note: This list is a work in progress. Please feel free to suggest additions or corrections by adding a comment (link at the very bottom of this post).

Action Team
BAA’s Action Team is ready to mobilize members to participate in hands-on activities (from rallies to letter-writing to human signs) that raise public awareness about important environmental issues.
Project Leader: various

Arastradero Preserve Project
(a.k.a. Arastradero Preserve Stewardship Project)
BAA’s Arastradero Preserve Project is beginning to carry out a historic joint public-nonprofit stewardship of over 600 acres of rolling grasslands and nature trails in the foothills of Palo Alto, California.
Project Leaders: David Smernoff, Jim Steinmetz

Bay Area Earth Day
Bay Area Action hosted Earth Day each year along with a coalition of other environmental organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. 1996’s Earth Day focus was “Food and the Environment.” The theme for Earth Day ’97 was forest issues. The theme for Earth Day ’98 was “A Sense of Place.”
Project Leader: various

Environmental Forum
(a.k.a. Bay Area Environmental Forum, a.k.a. BAEF)
The Environmental Forum was a coalition of Bay Area environmental groups working together to provide a monthly format for the discussion of current environmental issues. The Forum was held the third Tuesday of each month at the Peninsula Conservation Center in Palo Alto (unless otherwise noted), and typically included an educational program and discussion, a plan for action, and announcements by attending organizations.
Project Leader: Cindy Russell


BAA Radical Action Team

Decadent Dinner Parties

Deep Green Global Training
(a.k.a. Deep Green, a.k.a. DGGT, a.k.a. EnviroZestFest)


Earth Circus
Earth Circus Performance Troupe was a band of ecologically-minded performers who blended high art and dramatic themes with circus-like fun.

EarthTeam was formed out of Bay Area Earth Day 2000 as an effort to expand on the model put forth by BAA’s High Schools Group and try to implement regional coordination of high school students interested in environmental issues and action. After Earth Day 2000, the project was spun off as a separate organization under the guidance of Sheilah Fish and Cindy Spring, and continues today. Visit for more info.


With the Foundation for Global Community and the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation, Bay Area Action planned a Peninsula-based EcoCampus — a shared facility which would house the offices, staff, and volunteers of many of the Peninsula’s environmental organizations, and would maximize the inherent synergy of such a cooperative working environment. The concept would at the same time minimize operating costs for nonprofits through sharing facilities, overhead costs, and some staff. The shared location would also offer the public a one-stop center for all types of green information and resources, such as the existing Environmental Library, currently housed at the Peninsula Conservation Center. was a collaborative effort with the Peninsula Conservation Center Foundation to create a Bay Area-wide environmental portal website where visitors would find news, events, articles, books, research, and learn about the myriad aspects of our region’s ecosystem.
Project Leader: Mark Bult

EEAT (Environmental Eating Action Team)
EEAT was dedicated to educating people on the connection between food and the environment. The Decadent Dinner Parties — presented by EEAT — were BAA fundraisers held monthly that offer guests an evening of savory, salubrious food and interesting conversation.
Through our Decadent Dinner Parties and the Thursday Night Dinner Salon series, EEAT makes tasty presentations about the “Full Circle Food Cycle” to reach individuals, and corporations.
Project Leader: Laura Stec (1994-1998?) Carolyn Peters (1999-2000)

Electric Vehicle (EV) Project
The Electric Vehicle Project converted an MG Midget from gasoline power to electric power and efforts continue at showing the viability of clean, quiet electric vehicles as a commute alternative. EV Project volunteers and members of the High Schools Group also converted a Volkswagen Rabbit to electric power. Project members also worked with the SnoWhite, the country’s fastest electric race car, and are creating a slideshow about electric vehicle conversions.
Project Leader: David Coale

Feet First
Could you ride your bike to get muffins on Sunday morning? Could you walk in your neighborhood twice a week? How about taking the train to work on Tuesdays? Feet First incentivized citizens in a collaborative effort to use commute alternatives in their everyday lives, and educated about resources and information available to reduce car trips.
Co-sponsored by MPACT (Mid-Peninsula Action for Tomorrow), Midtown Residents’ Association, the Green Party of Santa Clara County, Palo Alto Co-Op Market, and John’s Markets.
Project Leader: Susan Stansbury

Forest Action Team
The Forest Action Team worked to protect our dwindling forests.
Project Leader: v

GreenTeam Project
The GreenTeam Project taught small groups of neighbors, friends, or co-workers how to live a more Earth friendly, sustainable lifestyle. With the use of a workbook, resource binder, and a trained coach, members learned how to reduce their solid waste, home chemical use, energy, water, and transportation impacts — all while having fun, building community, and saving money.
Project Leader: David Coale

Habitat Restoration Project
The Habitat Restoration Project works with community volunteers to remove invasive non-native flora, plant native species, and clean local creeks. Peter Drekmeier produced a 30-minute documentary about San Francisquito Creek for the project, and BAA was a member of the Coordinated Resources Management and Planning (CRMP) process for the San Francisquito Creek watershed, which included the cities of Protola Valley, Menlo Park, Atherton, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Stanford University.
Project Leaders: Peter Drekmeier and Will Satterthwaite (1996?), Susan Fizzell (1999)

Headwaters Forest Project
The Headwaters Forest Project sought to protect the largest unprotected old-growth redwood forest remaining on Earth. The ancient forest — threatened by clearcutting — is located in northern California’s Humboldt County. The project, with the help of Oakland-based Headwaters Sanctuary Project, created and maintained the most widely-read email newsletter and a popular website.
Project Leader: Mark Bult (1996?-2000)

High Schools Group
BAA’s Schools Group was made up of students representing local high school environmental clubs. The group’s focus was education and development of leadership skills. Members participated in regular BAA functions, and also organized their own events. The Schools Group used to meet every Wednesday night at the BAA office.
Project Leaders: Katherine Armer, Jim Steinmetz, Sue Nicholls, Meg Hilbert, Laura Stec, Diane Choplin, Amy Hui, Mark Bult

Rally Cry

The 100th Monkey

Thursday Night Dinner Salon

True Reflections
A documentary film produced by Golden Poppy Productions. For more information visit

Urban Agriculture Project
The Urban Agriculture Project worked with the East Palo Alto Historical and Agricultural Society to run a community organic garden located at 831 Weeks Street in East Palo Alto, California. The project also harvested a beautiful organic garden located behind the Co-Op Market in Midtown Palo Alto.
Project Leaders: __ Hogan, Denise Ladwig (1996?), Amy Cardwell-Bradsher (1999)
Weeks Street Garden
Mountain View Organic Garden
Midtown Palo Alto Organic Garden
Edible Landscaping workshops/consultation (Meg Hilbert, circa 1999)

YEA! Youth Environmental Action
BAA’s Youth Environmental Action program connects local schoolchildren with the environment by teaching them inside the classroom and outside in nearby creeks and habitats.
Project Leaders: Laura Stec, Sue Nicholls (1998)


Other Stuff

These don’t really fit under the definition of projects or campaigns, but are worth mentioning.

Action (newsletter)
Action Alert mailers
BAA Store
Cyberforest website
BAA Café
Youth Environmental Challenge
BAA Tech Fund
Bay-to-Bay Bike thing
Environmental Gift Catalog (Holidays 1999-2000)
Adopt an iMac campaign (circa 1999)
Beat the Back-Up
SUV ticket
Village Heartbeat
Cleen ‘N’ Green energy
Gap boycott

Peet’s organic coffee
When Peet’s Coffee & Tea introduced its first organic coffee in 1998, Gaia Organic Blend, the company donated 50¢ from the sale of each pound sold in the South Bay and Peninsula to BAA.

Team Evolve
Team Evolve is the name of the committee comprised of members from both boards of directors, charged with steering pre-merger issues and tasks.

Rock the Earth
A benefit concert on Saturday, April 1, 2000. Organized by High Schools Group member Liz Dietrich.

BAA Webs (circa 1996)
Our BAA Webs list offers a jumping point to other interesting eco-friendly webs sites. This is a regularly- updated feature that you can help create! Give it a browse and help add to it.

The BAA Experience
A series of events in March of 1999, conceived of by Debby Kramer.

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David Smernoff, Olya Milenkaya, Mark Bult, and Talia Stoessel

Oh, how I do love to collect photos. I’ve undoubtedly got hundreds, maybe thousands of photos from my BAA days, mostly taken in the pre-digital days. Here are three that I scanned a while ago, part of an ongoing effort to make digital copies of all my print photos so I can store them offsite in case I ever suffer a fire or flood at home.

I had this photo with a bunch of others on my desk and someone saw it and asked “Who’s this gentleman?” And I said, “That’s not a gentleman, that’s David Smernoff.” *rimshot*

David Smernoff and a bear, that is. I used to have this one on my desk when I worked at Acterra, and David just loooooved that. He was my boss at the time.

Good thing he’s got a sense of humor. Well, he’d have to, right? Look at the picture for evidence.

I think this was around 1996, on the way to Nevada Beach, NV. A group of BAA members went on a vacation/mountain bike trek near South Lake Tahoe. Photo by Mark Bult.

Velma Gentzsch took this shot of Olya Milenkaya and myself enjoying homemade fondue at Velma’s house. Circa 2003 or ’04.

Talia Stoessel was part of the High Schools Group after BAA moved to Mounatin View. This was in 2000 I believe, and Talia used to help Olya a lot in the office after school. I haven’t seen her in years, but she went on to UC Santa Cruz and I heard she’s doing well these days. Photo by Mark Bult.

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Schoolie alumni update

My semi-regular roundup of Schoolies (members of Bay Area Action / Acterra’s High Schools Group) I’ve heard from in the past few months/years.

I ran into Kristen Hayes in my neighborhood in San Francisco again, this time on Halloween night. We run into each other about every three or four months.

I was happy to see Carmen Ausserer for the first time in years at me and Velma‘s Hitchin’. It was great to see her, although everything that day went so fast I barely had time to say hello to her and her girlfriend Teg. Also in attendance at the Hitchin’ were Schoolie alumni Will Satterthwaite, Olya Milenkaya, Aaron Zonka and Nyte aka Chris Couch, and Jenny Cade. I talked with Giovanna Coto briefly on Carmen’s phone while at the Hitchin’. I guess she’s in Santa Cruz just workin’ these days, but it sounded like she was doing well.

Olya’s in Australia again, and recently her hut blew away in a storm(!). She’ll be back in about six months and might apply for grad school somewhere in the US.

Jenny’s in Seattle working for the Northwest Environmental Education Council, where she’s rockin’ them with her PHP and CSS and HTML skillz.

Will (aka Dr. Willhelm von Monocleman) has been teaching collej students on the other side of those Santa Cruz mountains, where he’s looking to find some land up in the hills he can rent/buy/squat, and helping local residents stave off a timber harvest plan filed by PG&E.;

I was recently surprised to hear from Avi Emet (aka Avram Walden, as he’s listed on Facebook) for the first time in years. Last I’d heard he was in Oregon, but apparently he’s bay in the Bay Area now and has co-founded a company in Santa Cruz called Connor Technical that’s doing R&D; around lighting and energy conservation products.

I also found Daniel Weisfield on Facebook, thanks to a pointer from Yuliya Shmidt (who’s at Yale for grad school). I think Daniel’s at Yale too, or maybe he just graduated. Laura Hess also just graduated from Yale last year.

Liz Dietrich, who I haven’t seen in person in way too long, is studying sociology and English at UC Berkeley and seeing/hearing a lot of music in SF. She and I have to commune face-to-face sometime soon. It’s been too long since I saw her lovely smile.

Another Facebook find was Seb Chafe, who told me he’s hanging in Palo Alto waiting to hear whether he gets accepted by the New School in NYC. Good luck Seb!

I haven’t heard from Hilary Hulteen in a couple months but apparently she’s been touring with Yard Dogs Road Show, honing her ever-improving photography skills. She’s also apparently DJing down the street from my place on Fridays at Amnesia. I’ll have to drop in there sometime in January if she’s still around.

Brian “Meerkat” Calhoon is attending SF Conservatory of Music in percussion. I haven’t seen him in a year or two, since I think Jenny’s going away party. He’s still really tall.

Last but not least, David Harris is leading an interesting global project called Global Lives, and there’s a fundraiser for it tomorrow night in Palo Alto I think, but I don’t think I can make it. Check out his project’s website though. Velma and I ran into Dave at Pakwan (a restaurant) in my neighborhood a couple months ago. He’d been living in Brazil setting up this project, and I think he’s heading back there again.

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