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Q&A with L. Martin Griffin

L. Martin “Marty” Griffin, now 98, co-founded the Environmental Forum of Marin and played a critical role in creating the Audubon Canyon Ranch. On his 90th birthday the ACR board officially renamed the 1,000-acre preserve on Bolinas Lagoon the Martin Griffin Preserve.

1. How were you instrumental in the creation of Audubon Canyon Ranch? Mrs. Terwilliger asked me to be the president of the Marin Audubon Society to help save Richardson Bay from being filled for a 2,000- home marina, which inspired me to pursue other conservation opportunities including the purchase of four gorgeous canyons with waterfalls on Bolinas Ridge and Bolinas Lagoon. We saved the nests of egrets and great blue herons that nested in the canyon on Bolinas Lagoon and educated thousands of children on the importance of saving wildlife. We named this project after James Audubon, who saved the birds of America from slaughter. I’m proud of my role in this victory and you can find out more in the book Saving the Marin- Sonoma Coast and in the film Rebels with a Cause.

2. Are you still involved in ACR? Yes, and I’m delighted to be able to see it succeed beyond my wildest dreams. I still serve as a co-founder and director emeritus.

3. A moment or event that altered your perception and drove you to become an environmentalist? I was in Oregon, and I had crept to the edge of a waterfall and saw large steelhead attempting to climb the wall of water in tail-twisting leaps. I decided then and there to do what I could to save our rivers and oceans.

4. What do you fear most for the future of our environment? We know everything is connected and I fear for the loss of biodiversity. The birds and science tell us of climate change and too few people are listening. We need to pay attention to what science is telling us and act with intelligence.

5. How we can protect and preserve our local landscape? Everyone should help protect open space everywhere, not just in Marin. Also, stop using household pesticides and herbicides — anything that ends with -cide is toxic.



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