Crystal Cove Conservancy welcomed California’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot

On Wednesday, April 3, Crystal Cove Conservancy (The Conservancy) welcomed a full house for a Cove Talk with California’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot, and Crystal Cove Conservancy President and CEO Kate Wheeler.

Sponsored by Bank of America, the Cove Talk was a free event that welcomed more than 100 guests to the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District where Crowfoot and Wheeler discussed the challenges of managing California’s natural resources, the importance of preserving nature, history and culture, and how people can come together to solve challenges facing natural lands.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove Conservancy

Crystal Cove Conservancy President and CEO Kate Wheeler and California’s Secretary of Natural Resource Wade Crowfoot speaking to guests

Crowfoot and Wheeler guided attendees through a broad-ranging conversation with deep dives into the impact of climate change, using nature-based solutions to address its impacts, and collaborative work to create more equitable access to California’s public lands and waters, especially for California Indigenous Tribes.

In addressing how the departments he oversees are reimaging parks for sustainability in the face of wildfire and wildfire threats, Crowfoot pointed to ongoing work in Big Basin Redwoods State Park which was struck by wildfire in 2020 that resulted in 97% of the park burning, including almost all park infrastructure.

“We have to consider carefully how we rebuild places like Big Basin Redwoods – at Big Basin Redwoods, we have the opportunity to work with tribes and community members to build something adaptive to a new reality,” Crowfoot said. “It’s something we’re going to need to do across the state, and to do that, we need to work with partners like The Conservancy to ensure we get it right.”

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Bank of American Senior Vice President Shari Battle (center) and her daughter Lauren Battle chat with Laguna Beach artist Michael Bryan during the post-program reception

Crowfoot took questions from a standing room crowd on the blufftop deck as the sun set over Catalina. “We weren’t surprised by the overwhelming response to the talk,” Wheeler said. “Our community understands both the value of places like Crystal Cove and the threats to them – we knew our supporters wouldn’t miss the chance to hear from Secretary Crowfoot.”

Following a thoughtful and engaging conversation between Crowfoot and Wheeler, and a Q&A with attendees that ended with Crowfoot’s optimism about communities coming together to help solve environmental issues, the conversation continued during a reception with drinks and light bites.

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Kate Wheeler and Wade Crowfoot took questions from more than 100 guests on the Crystal Cove blufftop deck

Secretary Crowfoot oversees an agency that employs more than 25,000 people spread across 26 departments, commissions and conservancies. His agency is charged with stewarding California’s forests and natural lands, rivers and water supplies, and coast and ocean. It also protects natural places, wildlife and biodiversity, and helps oversee the state’s world-leading clean energy transition.

For more information about Secretary Crowfoot and the California Natural Resources Agency, visit

To learn more about Crystal Cove Conservancy, visit

The Conservancy’s Cove Talks aim to bring influential individuals working to change the world to Crystal Cove State Park, as they share a diverse collection of experiences and viewpoints. These talks are another step towards connecting the community to the natural world, while deepening their understanding of issues facing local parks, the coast and the planet.

This Cove Talk was generously sponsored by Bank of America.

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