California’s first Black land conservancy is rewriting history of environmental injustice

May 20, 2024

California land trust 40 Acre Conservation League recently acquired 650 acres of a former logging forest in the northern part of the state. Its goal is not only to conserve the land, but also provide equitable outdoor opportunities for communities of color.

40 Acre Conservation League is California’s first Black-led land conservancy. Co-founder Jade Stevens is determined to use the land to demonstrate that safeguarding the ecosystem can help the state reach its goal of conserving 30 percent of its lands and waters by 2030, while also promoting wellness and confronting historical injustices. Historically, Black Americans have not had equal access to open spaces, and have often been deprived of the opportunity to steward large open spaces because of discriminatory land policies.

Despite these historical injustices, there is strong interest in land conservation among Black Americans—according to the 2024 Conservation in the West Poll85 percent of Black voters support the national goal of protecting 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030, 5 points higher than the average among all voters.

“This is an area where a lot of community building will take place,” Stevens said. “We’re hoping that everyone finds at least one thing that makes them feel welcome on this property.”

Quick hits

The American Climate Corps will get people into green jobs. Can it help their mental health too?


Storymap documents orphaned well cleanup across the country

U.S. Department of the Interior

Scientists aim to improve forecasts of snowfall and water supply in the West


Giant batteries are transforming the way the U.S. uses electricity

New York Times

Opinion: New Public Lands Rule is a win for all who love wildlife

Vail Daily

A once-promising Colorado River forecast is downgraded after mediocre April snowfall

Arizona Republic

Park Service working to heal New Mexico’s Valles Caldera National Preserve as it increases access to its wonders

Albuquerque Journal

California’s effort to plug abandoned, chemical-spewing oil wells gets $35-million boost

Los Angeles Times

Quote of the day

How we get back to this truth of appreciating nature, being connected to the outdoors, is our story to tell.”

—Jade Stevens, co-founder of the 40 Acre Conservation League, Los Angeles Times

Picture This

A fluffy blue and black Stellar's Jay looks directly into the camera

Borb is the worb!

Borb or floof? What about a birb? These are the questions. Do we have the answer? We have an answer. According to science*, a birb is a smaller, playful bird with vibrant feathers and a cheerful demeanor. Not always. They are known for their energetic chirps and quick movements as they flit from branch to branch in search of food.

A borb is a bit more well-rounded, with a fluffy appearance and a laid-back attitude. These marshmallows with wings are often seen perched on a branch, taking their time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

A floof is a bird with an abundance of feathers that give it a floofy/fluffy appearance. They are gentle and graceful creatures, full of floof and gliding effortlessly through the air with a quiet elegance.

*Possibly not science.


(Featured image: Lupine sunrise at Lake Tahoe in California. Jay Huang, Flickr)