Art and Jane Riggs

Art and Jane Riggs discuss what the Conservancy means to California and to them.

Art and Jane Riggs have been Conservancy contributors for close to two decades; since 2007 Art has been a member of the California Board of Trustees. In this conversation, they discuss what the Conservancy means to California and to them.

How did you first get involved with the Conservancy?

Art and Jane Riggs:

We had a lovely piece of property in the Mojave that we thought should be preserved, and we wanted to donate it to the Conservancy. We knew they did a good job protecting land. But they said, “No.” Imagine someone saying, “No”! (Jane)

We understood why they declined. As beautiful as it was, the land was already almost surrounded by the expanding town. It would be an isolated island, not of much use to the wildlife corridors—the broad passageways for plants and animals to travel through—that The Nature Conservancy was seeking to establish in the desert. They showed us some other projects, leading to our involvement with the Santa Rosa Plateau. That project now protects nearly 10,000 acres in southwest Riverside County. (Art)

What sparked your passion for conservation?

Art and Jane Riggs:

I’ve been a nature lover my whole life. I grew up camping in the Sierras and fishing on California’s coasts. We must protect these places so people can be exposed first-hand to the plants and animals that inhabit them. Without that, you’ll never get anyone interested in nature. Until people know nature, they may not place much value on it. (Jane)

We've explored the Sierra foothills in the summer and Baja and the deserts during the spring and fall. We’ve always appreciated the beauty of nature.

We think we’ve had a powerful impact on California because our work emphasizes place, policy and science. Do you agree?

Art and Jane Riggs:

Yes. As important as protecting places is, it always comes down to policy, doesn’t it? There is no way to preserve nature without being involved in public policy decisions. As for science, it’s a joy to see how deeply the Conservancy first studies whatever it is they’re trying to improve. (Jane)

Some of the biggest environmental challenges are hard to tackle, aren’t they?

Art and Jane Riggs:

The Conservancy is taking on broader goals like energy planning and water use for the entire state. I’m very pleased with this broader scope. Conserving nature for its sake and for our sake is critical. These are big problems that we need to focus on now. (Art)



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