Bear Yuba Land Trust to host annual Oak Tree Ball |

Bear Yuba Land Trust to host annual Oak Tree Ball

The Union staff

The Bear Yuba Land Trust invites the community to celebrate conservation and trails with an evening of fine food and drink, live music and an awards ceremony honoring three local leaders during the fourth annual Oak Tree Ball.

This celebration dinner and awards ceremony will be April 27 at the Alta Sierra Country Club. The Oak Tree Ball is a "festive formal attire" event and an opportunity to celebrate the people and landscapes of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

During the event, Elizabeth "Izzy" Martin, Hank Meals and Greg Archbald will be recognized for their years of work dedicated to conservation leadership, outdoor education and volunteerism.

Martin, The Sierra Fund CEO, will be recognized with the William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership. Nickerl devoted his life to land conservation in the California foothills. The award is given to Nevada County residents with a similar conservation ethic who inspire others to build a connection with the land.

For 30 years, Martin has been a leader in environmental advocacy and community organizing. She served as a Nevada County Planning Commissioner and later County Supervisor and led the fight to put the South Yuba River into the state's Wild and Scenic river program.

In 2004, Martin worked with Assemblymen John Laird and Tim Leslie to establish Sierra Nevada Conservancy. That same year, she took the helm at The Sierra Fund, where she has helped secure millions in state funds for conservation in the Sierra Nevada, including the most recent Bear Yuba Land Trust acquisition of Rice's Crossing.

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This year, two locals with a commitment to the outdoors will receive an award new to the Land Trust in honor of the late John Skinner. Skinner was a former Forest Supervisor for the Tahoe National Forest. After retirement, he followed his passion for hiking and trails through his writing of the popular book and online publication "Sierra Outdoors Recreation." He died in 2009.

Meals, a local archaeologist, writer and photographer, will receive the John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award for Education.

For a span of 25 years, Meals worked off and on as an archeologist for the Tahoe National Forest. He is the author of several books about trails and is currently co-authoring a book about the Nisenan people.

Meals began leading hikes for Bear Yuba Land Trust more than 20 years ago, and his knowledge of local history and trails remains a popular draw.

Archbald will receive the John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award for Volunteerism.

As an environmental attorney Archbald helped stop development in Mineral King and the Marin and Sonoma coasts. He co-founded the Trust for Public Land with Huey Johnson in 1972 and started natural resource stewardship programs at the Golden Gate National Parks.

For several years, Archbald has volunteered his time developing an online trails portal for Bear Yuba Land Trust with photographs, writing and GPS mapping, the first comprehensive site of its kind in the region.

Leta's Blues will perform live music until 10 p.m. To RSVP, contact Jean Gilbert at 530-272-5994, ext. 205.

Know and Go

What: Oak Tree Ball

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 27

Where: Alta Sierra Country Club, 11897 Tammy Way, Grass Valley

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