Following her February 2020 retirement from managing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which she led for nearly a decade, Morkill is taking the helm at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, a nonprofit that stewards one of the largest freshwater wetlands complexes on the northern California coast. Morkill believes that San Francisco Bay provides unusual potential for restoring habitat for wildlife in a highly urban environment. “That’s what makes it so special,” she says, citing the Bay Area’s history of environmental activism, the broad coalition of groups that support wetland restoration for both its ecological and economic benefits, and a citizenry that recognizes the value of a healthy ecosystem and is willing to provide funding to achieve it through parcel taxes and bonds. Turning that potential into reality is a group effort. “None of us has the resources to do it alone,” she continues. “I’ve always seen my role, both for my staff and for partners, as a facilitator who helps clear barriers and get the job done by providing resources, whether that’s information, funding, or staff expertise.” She’s also brought a landscape perspective. “It’s very easy to remain focused inside our boundary, especially for national wildlife refuge managers, but I tend to see how we fit into the larger picture,” she says.

Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss
 

After nearly 30 years in refuge management on public lands, Anne Morkill is leaving government, but not wildlife, behind.

Following her February 2020 retirement from managing the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which she led for nearly a decade, Morkill is taking the helm at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation, a nonprofit that stewards one of the largest freshwater wetlands complexes on the northern California coast. Morkill believes that San Francisco Bay provides unusual potential for restoring habitat for wildlife in a highly urban environment. "That's what makes it so special,” she says, citing the Bay Area’s history of environmental activism, the broad coalition of groups that support wetland restoration for both its ecological and economic benefits, and a citizenry that recognizes the value of a healthy ecosystem and is willing to provide funding to achieve it through parcel taxes and bonds. Turning that potential into reality is a group effort. "None of us has the resources to do it alone," she continues. "I've always seen my role, both for my staff and for partners, as a facilitator who helps clear barriers and get the job done by providing resources, whether that's information, funding, or staff expertise." She's also brought a landscape perspective. "It's very easy to remain focused inside our boundary, especially for national wildlife refuge managers, but I tend to see how we fit into the larger picture," she says.

About the author

Robin Meadows is an independent science journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. She covers water and climate change adaptation for Estuary News, is the water reporter for the Bay Area Monitor, and contributes to Bay Nature, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, PLOS Research News and Water Deeply. Robin also enjoys hiking and photography.

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