Obi Kaufmann: An Inventory of Conservation at the California Native Plant Society

Thursday Jul 05 2018   7:30 PM
California Native Plant Society–Yerba Buena Chapter  1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA  map

Obi Kaufmann brings his best-selling CALIFORNIA FIELD ATLAS to the CNPS Yerba Buena Chapter and will be delivering a new presentation.

An Inventory of Conservation
How Geographic Literacy works to address California’s Ecological Health

The greatest tool we have in defending the natural world, its biodiversity and its ecology, is an informed citizenry. By employing new modes of storytelling and nature-first narratives that promote geographic literacy, we find inroads to transform popular thinking on our continued human residency in California and beyond. Public policy is beginning to respond to a cultural upwelling of desire to atone and remediate our wasted paradise, to protect and to restore our largely squandered legacy of land and environmental stewardship. As evidenced by the successes of hugely popular land trust organizations and local non-governmental organizations that continue their work to safeguard the living portfolio of our unique and endemic systems, we can see a shift in our society’s priorities, a remaking of cultural identity—one where California is not a thing that belongs to us, but rather we are a community that belongs to it. Transcending political polarization, Californians are coming together to address long-standing, problematic, often-tragic grievances to the land and its living systems on a local and regional level. The list of projects in play, this geographic inventory of conservation from the Klamath River to the Salton Sea, from the Sierra Nevada to the Central Coast, is as extensive as it is exciting. New visions of conservation and post-environmentalism are emerging in response to evolving values and represent a new kind of hope for our endangered ecology. How do we build a path forward so that we leave California at the end of the 21st century in better shape than we left it at the end of the 20th?

Obi Kaufmann is a naturalist, a painter and the author of the best-selling California Field Atlas. A systems-thinker by inclination, Obi’s cartography balances ecology and aesthetics as driving and orienting forces across California’s largest, living networks of earth, air, fire, and water.  An avid conservationist, Obi Kaufmann regularly travels around the state speaking on issues of ecological restoration and preservation to such groups as the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildland center, the Mojave Desert Land Trust, the Anza-Borrego Foundation, the Mono Lake Committee, the Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Friends of the River in Coloma.

Obi KaufmannGrowing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Into adulthood, he would regularly journey into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. For Kaufmann, the epic narrative of the California backcountry holds enough art, science, mythology, and language for a hundred field atlases to come. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at his desk in Oakland, posting @coyotethunder #trailpaintings on social media. His website is