Scott Hein, May Volunteer of the Month
Interviewed by Laura Kindsvater, Stewardship & Outreach Intern
How long have you lived in the Bay Area?
Since the fall of 1988, so 30+ years.
How did you learn about Save Mount Diablo?
On a hike at Lime Ridge Open Space that was sponsored by SMD to educate the public about a proposed development called “Crystyl Ranch” in Concord.
What did you do before you started volunteering for us?
In 1994, I left a corporate job to start a small business with a colleague and was spending most of my time trying to figure out how to make that work. In my spare time, I was learning about the natural history of the Bay Area and getting re-engaged in photography.
How long have you been volunteering with us?
My wife, Claudia, who also serves on the SMD Board, first started volunteering in the office around 2000 when SMD had just two full-time staff members (Seth Adams and “new” Executive Director, Ron Brown). I started doing photography projects not long after.
What were your reasons for getting involved with SMD?
Claudia and I are birders and naturalists and as a result are advocates for land conservation. We were impressed by the significant accomplishments of this small organization and decided we wanted to dedicate some of our spare time to help where we could.
About Scott’s Work
Which SMD programs are you involved in?
I just finished six years as the Board President, and am now Chair of the Land Committee. I also serve on the Development Committee and the Board Governance and Nominating Committee.
What does your volunteer work consist of and what do you like about it?
My time volunteering is split between board and governance–related activities and land-related activities. Good governance is critical to ensure the long-term success of the organization. However, my passion is spending time out on the land—exploring and photographing properties, leading hikes, etc. There is real joy and satisfaction when a parcel of land is finally protected, and you had some small part in making it happen.
What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on while volunteering?
Relatively early in my first term as President, Ron Brown let us know that he was planning to retire after 15 years as Executive Director. Those were big shoes to fill, and as President, I had to take the lead in the search for and hiring of a new ED (something I had never done before), and then managing the transition. Fortunately, we have a talented and experienced Board of Directors and staff who I was able to lean on throughout the process. That process resulted in the hiring of Ted Clement after a nationwide search.
What is an especially memorable experience you’ve had as an SMD volunteer?
There have been many, but probably it has been helping to lead the Four Days Diablo hiking trip. There is no better way to communicate the importance and impact of SMD’s work than to spend four days completely immersed in places that we helped to protect. It is a transformative experience for the participants, and it is always memorable being able to share it with them.