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At Team Sierra, we're creating a community of environmental champions. Team Sierra members from all over the country are coming together to raise critical funds and rally together to save our planet. Here are their stories. 

Tips & Tricks from Dorit, Team Sierra's Newest Fundraising Coach

Friday, February 28, 2020


What is your role here at Sierra Club?

Fundraising Coach for Team Sierra. I’m working with the Team Sierra race participants to help them meet their fundraising goals this spring! 

Tell us a bit about your background with fundraising.

I’ve personally raised over $10K and ran several half marathons with Team Challenge for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.  In total, I’ve run 4 half marathons and done several 5K/10K races.  In my previous professional experience, I oversaw a Take Steps Walk for the same organization that raised over $100K.  

Do you remember the feeling when you signed up for your first fundraiser? What convinced you to do so?

I was so nervous about having to raise thousands of dollars for my first half marathon and to boot I’d never even run more than a mile!  Ultimately, though, my commitment to the cause inspired me to challenge myself.  I knew that there were resources available to help me with both training and fundraising and that I had plenty of time. 


"The hardest thing about fundraising is getting out of your comfort zone. JBut, I’m always amazed at how encouraging and willing people are to chip in and how inspired they are by your efforts."

What’s the hardest thing about fundraising?

The hardest thing about fundraising is getting out of your comfort zone.  Just having the courage to ask for a donation or support can be uncomfortable sometimes.  But, I’m always amazed at how encouraging and willing people are to chip in and how inspired they are by your efforts.  And, along those lines, not being afraid to follow-up, too!  So many times, someone may want to support you, but maybe payday is next week or they can’t do it right that moment and they need a gentle reminder or 2nd ask.  Most of the time, I find they’re grateful for the reminder because they sincerely wanted to donate but simply forgot.

How have you found the most success fundraising?

For my first half marathon, emails and Facebook posts that conveyed my commitment to the cause and shared my fundraising link really did the trick.  For subsequent races, I felt like I wanted to get my donors more involved, so I organized restaurant nights, a bingo event, and once also hosted a casino night which was a blast.  That also made me feel like I was giving them an experience too.

What’s your favorite part of raising money for a cause you care about?

It’s incredibly gratifying to raise money for a cause that means a lot to you.  It’s empowering, rather than sitting back, you feel like you’re contributing to change and improvement.

What are your top tips for someone who is brand new to fundraising?

Just ASK (i.e. Just Do It).  Get out of your head and get out of your own way.  Get personal about why you’re asking too and let your passion come through as it will be inspiring to others.  Tell anyone and everyone who will listen why you’re running as you never know who your next supporter may be.  I’ve been surprised so many times!

What are your tips for someone who has done it before and is hesitant about doing it again or wants to switch up their methods?

I’ve been there, done that.  There are so many fun ways to raise funds that don’t feel like just asking people to contribute money.  Think of what your interests/talents are and of those around you and think of ways you can offer your prospective donors a fun experience where proceeds of cost of participation go to charity.  Think bunco, March Madness, restaurants, casino night, movies, bake sales, etc.  
  

What’s your favorite race you’ve ever done? 

The Napa-to-Sonoma Half Marathon is my favorite race to date.  It’s scenic, starts at a winery, ends with wine, has a beautiful landscape in between with llamas and rolling hills, and it typically has great running weather.

Explain the feeling of crossing that finish line. 

Completing a race is exhilarating and exhausting but the tiredness and soreness quickly turn into pride when you reflect on your accomplishment.

Any other words of wisdom?

Embracing a challenge like running in a race for a cause can have a profound impact on your personal growth.  And, if you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t fully know what you’re capable of. 

SF Bay Chapter's Bay Bridge Runners!

Monday, February 24, 2020


Meet the SF Bay Chapter Runners!

Name: Olga A. Bolotina
Chapter Role: Chapter Chair
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work?
Time is valuable and this is an excellent opportunity to accomplish several important things at once: raise much needed funds to support our excellent chapter staff in their dedicated work; bond with fellow chapter leaders and get fit and healthy to have even more energy to continue our environmental work.
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
Do I really need to say it! I have big hopes for our new 46th! And I trust in the wisdom and humanity of this country's citizens!

Name: Laura Einowski
Chapter Role: Chapter ExCom, Former Chapter Vice Chair
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work?
Running with the Bay Chapter will be my second Team Sierra event and my 7th running event. Basically, I love to run and if I can do good at the same time all the better. It seems fitting to be running across the Bay while raising money that could go towards protecting it for years to come. I am also excited to be running with my fellow leaders and will be cheering them on, as this is a first for many of them!
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
I'm a big believer in being the change you want to see and in 2020 I hope for change. In an effort to not dwell on the negative, I am hoping that 2020 will give me time and energy to continue to focus on issues and organize outings that I find important. 

Name: Vince Sugrue
Chapter Role: Chapter member
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work?
The SF Bay Sierra Club Chapter not only focuses on environmentalism which I fundamentally believe in, but have been strong allies in the fight for support Union workers and Green UNION jobs of tomorrow. Supporting a just transition and the Green New Deal means we stand up for local workers! Also, I thrive on accountability, so being a part of this team means I’ll actually make the time to train!
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
I just want us to all feel the sigh of relief at the end of the year. This lunacy has gone on for too long.

Name: Sarah Barger Ranney
Chapter Role: Chair of the Climate Literacy Committee
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work? 
I'm running with and for the Sierra Club to raise money and awareness for the Bay Chapter's critical work, and to give me a great excuse to talk about our impact with family, friends, and colleagues.
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
That we stick together and pace ourselves to achieve the significant goals we have for this year. If we do that, I'm convinced that we will end 2020 with the pride and strength that comes with achieving an ambitious goal. 

Name: Kirby Lawton
Chapter Role: Chapter member
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work?
I'm involved in, and benefit from a lot of the Bay Chapters outdoors activities. From hiking, to training, to camping in the snow, I have come to appreciate the opportunities and friendships in the Sierra Club, and want to help support the work.
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
I hope that we can get the leadership and focused progress on climate change to make real, impactful change to benefit us now and into the future.

Name: Minda Berbeco
Chapter Role: Chapter Director
Why are you running to support the Bay Chapter's work?
I have such great pride in the chapter and the innovative work we do here in the Bay Area.  We do such important work here in the Bay Area, from protecting open space to advocating for renewable energy - I can’t think of an organization I would want to support more, and I’m delighted to be joined on this run by our amazing chapter leadership and members.  I feel so lucky to be working and running with these folks - and this is my first run EVER!
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
My hope for 2020 is that even when faced with a challenge or setback, we have the confidence, vision and trust in each other to know that in the end, with hard work and determination, we will succeed.

Name: Igor Tregub
Chapter Role: Chapter Executive Committee Member, Former Chapter Chair

Name: Chance Cutrano
Chapter Role: Chapter Vice Chair
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
I'm running to support the Chapter's work because we are in the 11th hour of our climate crisis, and we need all hands on deck to mitigate the worst effects of climate disruption.
What is your greatest hope for 2020?
My greatest hope for 2020 is for wildlife to prevail and biodiversity to resurge on our public lands throughout the Bay Area.
 

Q+A with Brian Anderson, Sierra Club Outings Leader

Friday, February 21, 2020


Sierra Club staff member and outings leader, Brian Anderson, will be leading the first fundraising-based Sierra Club Outing to Summit County, CO this June. Participants will earn a spot on this exciting service and outdoor adventure trip by raising money for Sierra Club. Here, Brian tells us about his history with the outdoors and what he's looking forward to for the Stand-Up and Give Back: Colorado trip. 


Tell us about your history with the outdoors.

Getting outdoors has been a part of my life for a long time.  I grew up in Colorado where my dad said he wanted me and my brother to enjoy all that the state had to offer.  Camping, rafting, skiing, hiking were common for us.  In high school, I began to broaden my adventures with the outdoor club at my school -- it is Colorado so, of course, they have an outdoor club.  That set me on a path.  I went to college and got my degree in Outdoor Recreation.  

How did you get involved with Sierra Club Outings?

During college, I started guiding trips professionally, and that continued after college.  I guided in Colorado, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Florida, and back to Colorado in the three years after I graduated.  It was awesome, my family wondered if I would ever get a “real job” and I would tell them that you cannot get any more real then the places I have seen.  I did settle into whitewater raft guiding in Colorado summers and ski instruction in the winters for a good 6 years after that.  I loved guiding but wanted to teach more.  I got a job at Regis University leading their outdoor program and teaching students how to lead other students on outdoor trips. While there I was also a professor of Rock Climbing, Ice Climbing, and Backpacking.  After gaining my master’s degree there I wanted to be with an organization that had more focus on the outdoors and saving the places I enjoy and love.  I found the Sierra Club online and saw they had a position in National Outings and have been here for 2 years now.

What’s your absolute favorite place you’ve ever visited?

Hawaii has a very special place in my heart.  While living there I met great people and found amazing places that are still so vivid in my memories that it is like I visited them yesterday.  

What’s your #1 can’t-live-without piece of outdoor gear?

My down sleeping bag.  Being all warm and cozy in it while I can still see my breath is the best. 

Do you have a bucket list trip?

I do not have a bucket list, it implies that those trips are a far off dream.  I have a list with dates of when I am going on trips. When my kids are a bit older we are going to sail the coast of Chile. 



When building this trip, how did you decide where it should be?

I wanted to show off my home state.  Summit County and the Colorado River are 2 areas that showcase the great beauty of Colorado.  Plus, they are a lot of fun! 

How did you decide on activities?

I was looking for a good thrill that was just enough out of the ordinary.  Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun time but river stand up paddleboarding is that next-level fun!  I love boarding through this section of the Colorado River, it is beautiful and exhilarating all at the same time. 

Tell us more about our service partner for this trip, Friends of the Dillon Ranger District.

Friends Of the Dillion Ranger District (FDRD) is an amazing group of committed people making sure that national forest lands are not negatively impacted by the many people that love to visit Summit County, Colorado.  They connect with volunteers to clean and maintain over 430 miles of trail in Summit County.  Their goals are mission-aligned with the Sierra Club so well I thought they would be great partners.  

What can participants expect to get out of this trip?

My hope is that participants get laughter, friends, sore muscles,  a sense of accomplishment and appreciation.  

What are you most looking forward to?

Seeing participants be inspired by the trip.  I want to know that this is the next step in their environmental activism journey. 

Colorado in June -- is it the best or is it the best?!

Long warm days and cool nights in the mountains has to be one of the best feelings in the world.  

To see the full itinerary and to register for this trip, click here.

Q&A with Salem Stanley, Race Director & Founder at Vacation Races

Wednesday, February 12, 2020



Growing up just outside of Zion created a lifelong love of visiting national parks for Salem Stanley. Salem is the Founder of Vacation Races, 7 year old company known for its cup-free races near National Parks. This year, they expect to have 30,000 people race near parks like Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and Yellowstone.


We chatted with Salem to learn a bit more about his company, how he works with the National Parks on these destination races, and his leadership in the zero-waste endurance space. 

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Getting to visit the parks for work is amazing and I love that part of the job. While I don't see myself as much of a runner, I LOVE athletics. I really love seeing people put themselves out there and start something that they don't know for sure whether they can finish or not. I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to combine athletics with national park visitation, and to do it as a job is simply wonderful. 
 
How are you working with the National Parks on these races?

We try very hard not to be a burden to the NPS. We do our best to teach people to visit the parks responsibly, and to be the best kinds of park visitors. Most of our events occur just outside park boundaries, and thank goodness. I am extremely grateful that the parks are not available to rent to those with the deepest pockets. We do; however, try and keep the park service updated regarding the event, and we will take their recommendations and suggestions when problems pop-up. For example, we used to have Angels Landing as one of our club hikes, however after Zion National Park officials talked to us about the problems created by this, we eliminated that hike as an option. We have also altered start times, and in some instances, our race courses when park officials have asked for it. We try our best to be good stewards.
 
Vacation Races has been a real leader in zero-waste and sustainability efforts at races. Can you tell us more about what you've been doing? 

Our first meaningful efforts were to be the first series to be cup-free. It cost us a little to implement, but was the right decision to make. Once we merged with Ultra Adventures (UA), we took another big step forward. Matt Gunn was the founder of UA, and he spearheaded our efforts to try and send nothing to the landfill. We haven't been perfect, but we have really tried to implement reduce, reuse, recycle, in that order. Too often I see people using recycle as the first line of defense, when in reality, it should be a last resort. We use reusable stuff everywhere we can. We still have a ways to go, but we have been happy with the steps taken so far. 

We also started a composting portable toilet system we are slowly getting off the ground. It's called Great Outdoors, and it is the best poop you will ever take. :) See www.greatoutdoorstoilets.com 
 
What advice would you have for other races that are thinking about implementing more sustainable efforts?  

Just start. Do something. The reality is, even if you are a penny pinching miser who just wants to make money, making attempts at eliminating waste is a wise move. Waste is just that, unnecessary expenditure. Think about your efforts and consider what you can do to reduce your purchases. Ignore industry standards and just focus on your own customer's needs. Do you really need goodie bags? Can you make your event BYOB (bring your own bag)? Can you use reusable plates instead of paper? Start small. What is something you can do without and most of your customers would not care? The point is, just do something. Start.
 
Which race will be your biggest event? 

Yosemite is usually the biggest, although Joshua Tree has been very popular lately. We cap Yosemite at 3100 participants. (Yosemite will sell out, but you can get a free bib with Team Sierra when you raise $1,000.)
 
What advice would you give someone that's considering raising money with Team Sierra and joining their first half marathon? 

You are more powerful than you think. Just like an athletic event, put yourself out there and see what you can do. There is honor in the attempt. If you are trying to find a way to make your running more meaningful, raising money for a good cause is a perfect way to do that.

This year, we’ll have teams joining the Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, and Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathons. You can see our full list of races here.

Running to Heal Through Grief

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Running to Heal Through Grief

by Taylor Floeck

 

The loss of my dad in late 2017 has been a treacherous journey. It was the loss of a soulmate, confidant, captain and friend, and one that I have not feared to express to the public. Grief is a dark, complex and unforgiving monster, and I myself was consumed by it.

Growing up, I wanted to do everything he did, from riding motorcycles, to being the ultimate story-teller, to running and taking care of myself all because of his outlook on life. The conversations we held while watching Forrest Gump (my favorite) run through endless valleys and scenic routes inspired me to one day do the same, and I vowed to do it in my life time.

On the day of my first trail half, the crack in his voice that exploded with pride and excitement once I crossed the finish line still brings me to tears. We had plotted and planned together my training and shared our mutual love for the feeling of flying that comes with a run, and I couldn't wait to share with him my victory on that day, essentially running toward the finish just to call him. I lost him 10 days later.


It is difficult to put to words how full my heart is for this opportunity to run in the Yosemite sunshine...It is a place that I know he will be running alongside me, and it deserves to be protected.

I have learned through painful trial and error my ways of connection to him that are more joyous than agonizing, all of which have been a difficult process, but landed where I sensed (and maybe he sensed, too) it would; Running.

I'm incredibly honored to say that I am continuing to carry that vow. For me and for him. For my love of nature. For my 10-year old self diagnosed with a heart disease that questioned my ability for activity once upon a time. For my healing through grief. For everyone who has ever lost someone and missed them every second, yearning to connect with them again. For our mother earth, which is one of the coolest opportunities of all.

It is difficult to put to words how full my heart is for this opportunity to run in the Yosemite sunshine with Team Sierra through one of the most beautiful valleys we have around. It is a place that I know he will be running alongside me, and it deserves to be protected. Though the distance may be no wild feat, it is the moral that is massive.

This one's for you, dad. Let's run Yosemite.

On May 11, Taylor completed the Yosemite Half Marathon raising $2,995 with Team Sierra in honor of her dad. 

My Spontaneous Yosemite Half Marathon

Monday, December 16, 2019

by Michela Galante

 

Yosemite, in my mind, is the most famous National Park in the United States. It was the first National Park I learned about in my high school science class. It's the background on my MacBook. Travis Scott even recently wrote a song about the Park. It is everywhere for a reason: It's one of the most majestic places you'll ever visit.

I honestly never thought I would have the opportunity to visit Yosemite. Living in New York, it seemed like a faraway place; a place that I always saw in the Sierra Club pamphlets I received in the mail, or on episodes of Planet Earth.

So when I received an email from Team Sierra (the Sierra Club's fundraising arm) that they were looking for team members for the Vacation Races Yosemite Half Marathon the following May, it piqued my interest. As a Sierra Club volunteer, runner, and someone who struggles with Asthma due to our nation's poor air quality, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me. I spontaneously signed up for the race on my way to work one morning, not even thinking what I was getting myself into, but knowing I wanted to be a part of a team and fundraise for an organization whose mission I support wholeheartedly.

It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Training for any race is hard. You must motivate yourself to run in 30-degree weather, stick to a strict schedule, and mentally train to fight through the long distances. I'm not new to running or even half marathons, but every race is a new beast and you always have to prepare for the unknown. While training, I tried to start off every run with reminding myself the reason I was doing all of this and how much this experience meant to me.

Fundraising for Team Sierra was honestly one of the best parts of the experience. It can be intimidating at first to reach out to almost every person you know and ask them to donate to your cause because it means a lot to you. What I found along the fundraising road is that people want to help – they want to stand up to fight climate change and the fossil fuel industry – they want clean air – they want to preserve our beautiful national parks and enjoy every part of this country.


Fundraising for Team Sierra was honestly one of the best parts of the experience....What I found along the fundraising road is that people want to help.

The weeks leading up to the race were a bit nerve-wracking because I felt that I had a lot hanging on my shoulders. I was so excited to get to Bass Lake to see the beautiful place I would be running in, but I was so nervous to run at 5,000+ ft, a first for me. As soon as I got to the race expo and met the other Team Sierra team members, who traveled from all over the country to do the exact same thing as me, I felt a sense of unity and purpose – almost all my nerves dissipated.

As we drove up the mountain to the race start, it was a dewy, frigid 40-degree morning. The start line was at the top of a mountain, on a rocky trail. At about 5:45am, the horn blew, and I was off – catching my pace on the trail through the forest, passing little waterfalls and enormous cliffs – it was a beautiful start. When I got to the paved downhill road at mile 6, I was relieved that the temperature increased about 20 degrees. The downhill miles were also gorgeous – large pines, a view of the Sierra Nevada’s, the sun shining through the trees. The last few miles were definitely the hardest. What helped was running alongside serene Bass Lake in near perfect 60-degree weather. As I approached the finish line, there were hundreds of people cheering and I sprinted through with the biggest smile on my face.

My trip wouldn’t have been complete without a visiting the rest of the park and seeing Yosemite Valley, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, views of Half Dome, and the beautiful of high flowing waterfalls. Driving through the Valley is one of the most surreal experiences, especially in mid-May when the falls are thundering from the glacial run-off.

When I spontaneously signed up for the race, I never expected the experience to be so momentous. I was in a state of pure bliss the entire six-day trip. I could not stop grinning from ear to ear.

John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club and Father of the National Parks, said it best, "But no temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite. Every rock in its wall seems to glow with life."

Don't walk...run!

 
RUN WITH TEAM SIERRA

With so much at stake, thousands of planet-lovers are joining Team Sierra and raising funds to benefit the Sierra Club. In 3 short years, we've raised close to $1 million to protect the places we love and solve the climate crisis. Our race isn't over yet, though. Whether it's your first race or fiftieth, join Team Sierra to race in a beautiful place and make your miles more meaningful.

SEE OUR RACE EVENTS

Michela Galante is an avid runner and Sierra Club volunteer from Brooklyn, New York. Even though she played collegiate lacrosse, she never thought it was possible to run more than 10 consecutive miles. It wasn't until she graduated college and started running on her own that she realized it was possible (of course it was)! She ran her first half marathon in 2015 and hasn't looked back.

2019 Accomplishment Highlights

Thursday, November 7, 2019

November is the month for giving and thanking — and we can’t thank you enough for being a part of our team. 


Team Sierra launched 3 years ago after Trump was elected. It began as a platform for people to rally their family and friends to Stand Together for our planet — over 15K people have raised over $1MM from putting on concerts to walking 5ks to pledging their birthdays to hiking their city. 

We’re proud to share with you some of our 2019 victories you’ve made possible:   
 
  • Protecting the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear

  • Expanding free access to the National Parks for more than 3 million 4th graders

  • Offshore oil in Arctic and Atlantic blocked in court victory Trump Administration’s Pro-Polluter Agenda Defeated Once Again in Court

  • Passing equitable and just 100% clean energy legislation in 7 states and more than 130 cities 

  • Shutting down the largest coal unit in the history of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign and a total of more than 291 total plants

  • Successfully stopped proposed oil and gas leasing on public lands in the Ruby Mountains in Nevada, in the greater Chaco Canyon region of New Mexico, and have seen parcels deferred in Colorado adjacent to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Wyoming in conflict with critical wildlife habitat and migration corridor. 

  • Pressuring Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to step down

  • Welcoming the 116th Congress which is committed to taking action on climate.

  • Blocking oil and gas pipelines including halting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.  

  • Protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from destructive seismic testing this year and delaying the lease sale. 

  • Securing Colorado as the 11th state to join the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) standards. 




Thank you for your creativity, your engagement, and your time. Your motivation inspires us and it makes our work possible.  

Q+A with Ryan Dawkins, Founder of Oakland Run Co.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

By Jessica Dean

Over 200 Sierra Club staff collaborate at our Oakland headquarters every day with the shared value of protecting the planet. From lunchtime loops around Lake Merritt to game days cheering on the A's to the rolling green hills, Oakland is a special place to the Sierra Club. (Plus, you can't beat the year-round 70-degrees-and-sunny weather!) So next May, we decided to celebrate The Town by joining the second annual Bay Bridge Half Marathon -- the only half marathon that crosses the Bay Bridge!

We chatted with Ryan Dawkins, the founder of Oakland Run Co., @OakRunCo, about what motivated him to launch the event, how the event prioritizes zero waste, and what’s in store for year two.

Jessica:  Tell us about the conception of the Bay Bridge Half. Why did you want to have a race that went across the Bay Bridge? 
Ryan:  Our team set out to reimagine the endurance event and knew that we wanted to build out the experience first, then add in the run. In 2002, we founded, in partnership with the 2012 Olympic bid to bring the games to San Francisco, the first run across the Golden Gate Bridge. So naturally, with our Oakland roots, the brand new Oakland Bay Bridge was an obvious choice for us.

Jessica:  What is your favorite thing about the Bay Bridge Half?
Ryan:  Our inaugural event was a magical day, with several industry firsts, but if I had to pick one, it’s the fact that we were the first road running event to go cupless on course and provide a reusable race-ready receptacle to all runners.

Jessica:  How does Bay Bridge choose their charitable partners?
Ryan:  We are an Oakland-first company, so our charity partners have to be from Oakland, have a passion for health and fitness, and align with our culture.

Jessica:  So, what’s your favorite thing about Oakland?
Ryan:  With a home and business in Oakland and two daughters in OUSD, my experience is quite diverse. What I love about the town is the intense loyalty and pride for Oakland, which was the primary catalyst for creating Oakland Run Co. A place where running and civic pride could thrive. Running is hard, but when you surround yourself with an amazing community, it becomes a little easier.

Jessica:  I love that you’re committed to being a zero-waste event! Can you tell me more about what you’re doing on race day? 
Ryan:  We partnered with Oakland’s HydraPak to eliminate 45,000 one-use cups and to supply all our runners with a reusable SpeedCup that is filled via rapid fill guns attached to 110 water tanks on course. East Bay’s BibBoards helped us rid the event of safety pins by providing branded, reusable snaps to affix race bib numbers. Our taco truck used compostable wrappers to serve our runners and for post-race water, beer, and Nuun electrolyte, all runners are given a branded pint glass to use on site and again at home.

Jessica:  How many people do you expect to do the race in 2020? 
Ryan:  We will sell out at 3,000 people. Double the size of our inaugural event.

Jessica:  That’s so exciting! What would you tell someone that’s going to join the race for their first half marathon?
Ryan:  Have fun! Dress up, bring friends, and take a ton of photos. You’ll be in good company.

Jessica:  And what piece of advice would you give someone who isn't sure if they should run Bay Bridge? 
Ryan:  A very exciting stat from our inaugural event was how slow the average times were. This meant that our goal of creating an inclusive, social, and one-of-a-kind experience was achieved. A combination of selfie stations on the bridge and awards like best-dressed and youngest runner make this a fun, unintimidating event that bucks the status quo.

This race will sell out, and we only have a limited number of slots left with Team Sierra. If you’d like to join, you’ll be responsible for raising $1,000 in exchange for free race entry, a race-day singlet, and a fun race-day experience with a team of planet protectors! The funds raised go toward protecting our planet by doing things like transitioning cities, such as Oakland, to 100% renewable energy, and ensuring clean air and water for all.  Learn more on how to join our team here.

Since 2002, Dawkins has transformed running and cycling events through his company Project Sport, a venture he founded as a 25-year-old graduate student and built into an industry-leading event production, management, and marketing company. Ryan received Acquisition International’s Business Excellence Award for “Best CEO in the Events Sector” in 2015 for his contributions to the industry’s evolution. Dawkins is also a competitive athlete, completing several IRONMAN events and finishing second as part of a four-man team in the Race Across America from San Diego to Atlantic City. Dawkins and his wife live in Oakland with their two children.

Jessica Dean is the Associate Director of Team Sierra, the Sierra Club’s fundraising program. She has raised money to protect the planet by running the Yosemite Half Marathon, asking for donations in lieu of gifts for her 32nd birthday, and hosting an Earth Day fundraising hike.

Q+A with Kegn Moorcroft of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

By Jessica Dean


Sedona, famous for its breathtaking red rock buttes and steep canyon walls, will be hosting its 15th Annual RunSedona Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K on February 1. Around 3,000 people are expected to attend and will get to experience the beautiful scenery by foot.

What we love most about this race is that they’ve been putting in the work to become a zero waste event. We chatted with Kegn Moorcroft, Director of Communications for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, to tell us more.

Jessica: Races have an amazing community and energy, but they can unfortunately create a lot of unnecessary waste. What has RunSedona done to help reduce waste in such a stunning place?

Kegn: The event was an early adopter of the community’s Sustainability Initiative. By reducing single-use plastic, and moving to recyclable/compostable products, the event has reduced its footprint significantly. We are moving towards becoming a zero waste event by using Water Monster (portable water stations), and implementing a compost and recycling program.

Jessica: RunSedona has done a lot to give back to the community. Tell me about other charities you have worked with over the years.

Kegn: We’ve partnered with US Military Endurance Sports to promote endurance sports as part of a healthy lifestyle to keep active and veteran service members Fit for Duty and Fit for Life. We also partnered with a clean drinking water organization to help Arizona’s Native American reservations with water awareness. Many participants come to us with beautiful stories as to why they are running and we often partner with these runners to spread awareness. For example, in 2018, a half-marathon registrant, Laura King Edwards, ran in all 50 states to fight Batten disease.

Jessica: So how does RunSedona choose their charitable partners?

Kegn: We often hear about a worthy cause and run with it … pun intended. We are open to work with all types of charitable organizations, mainly ones that are working towards health and wellness, and are engaged in the quality of life in a community. Outdoor recreation is at the heart of Sedona, and the Sierra’s Club ongoing commitment to outdoor recreation opportunities, made this year’s partnership a no-brainer.

Photo Credit: Sedona Bureau of Tourism

Jessica: Sedona is often at the top of America’s Most Beautiful lists, which makes this race so exciting. Having been born and raised in Sedona, what is your favorite thing about living here?

Kegn: The small-town life! I love knowing my neighbors, seeing friends everywhere I go, and meeting happy visitors who are awe-struck by Sedona.

Jessica: And what’s your favorite thing about the race?

Kegn: My favorite part is the scenery. The red rocks, the twisted road, the hills, the dense pine and juniper forest, the random cactus and wildlife; it’s just magical. My second favorite part is the finish line. The course ends with a small hill and the sense of overwhelming accomplishment is evident with each participant. Some cry, some laugh, some keep running as if they don’t want the course to end.

Jessica: What piece of advice would you give someone that's not sure if they should RunSedona?

Kegn: As our tagline says -- "If the hills do not take your breath away, the SCENERY will!"

You can join Team Sierra’s half-marathon team and raise $1,000. Or you can join the 10K or 5K and raise $100. The funds raised go toward protecting our planet and beautiful places like Sedona, ensuring clean air and water, and transitioning cities to clean energy. Learn more on how to join our team here.


Kegn Moorcroft, Director of Communications for the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Grand Canyon University. Moorcroft has been with the Chamber since October 2011, and working with RunSedona’s social media all the while. Born and raised in Sedona, Arizona, Moorcroft adores her family, swimming, hiking, mountain climbing, and camping with her husband Eric.

Jessica Dean is the associate director of Team Sierra, the Sierra Club’s fundraising program. She has raised money to protect the planet by running the Yosemite Half Marathon, asking for donations in lieu of gifts for her 32nd birthday, and hosting an Earth Day fundraising hike.

City Hike: LA Works to Raise Funds and Reduce Waste

Thursday, October 3, 2019

By Jenny Muschinske

Photo Credit: Diana Vitoshka

On Saturday, September 28th Team Sierra hosted the first-ever Team Sierra City Hike: LA. 115 participants from the greater Los Angeles and Orange County area gathered to hike a collective 500+ miles through Koreatown and Downtown LA, all in the name of clean air. Hikers raised an incredible $27,000 by using Team Sierra's fundraising website to ask friends and family for donations to the Sierra Club on their behalf. Chapter leaders and event organizers took special care to employ zero waste efforts, providing reusable stainless steel Klean Kanteen water bottles, utilizing corn husks as plates at the after-party, and partnering with local retailer EastWest Shop to create upcycled event T-shirts. 

Here's a glimpse into the first-ever Team Sierra City Hike:

Photo Credit: Jenny Muschinske

 City Hike: LA started and ended at the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter offices in Koreatown where participants enjoyed a spectacular view of Downtown LA. 

 Photo Credit: Jessica Dean

State Senator Holly Mitchell stopped by to thank the hikers and address some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the City of Los Angeles and surrounding areas. 

 Photo Credit: Jenny Muschinske

Dedicated chapter leaders and volunteers support zero waste initiatives by distributing Klean Kanteen water bottles and upcycled event T-shirts from EastWest Shop. By using upcycled shirts, Sierra Club saved an estimated 150,000 gallons of water -- or as much water as 2,586 people drink in a year!

 

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Nytes

Urban hiker Liz Thomas leads the group in some pre-hike stretches

Hikers set off on two different routes ranging from 3.8 miles to 7.7 miles through Koreatown and Downtown LA with stops at MacArthur Park, Grand Park, Pershing Square, and Vista Hermosa.

Photo Credit: Amelia Tabullo

Photo Credit: Amelia Tabullo

The top fundraising team, The Blister Sisters, raised over $1,300!

 Photo Credit: Alex Slobin

 Photo Credit: Alex Slobin

Earthbar and Le Pain Quotidien in Pershing Square graciously helped fuel the hikers with muffins and smoothies along the way.

 

Photo Credit: Diana Vitoshka

Students from Los Angeles Trade Technical College hiked and helped out at a support station in Vista Hermosa!

Photo Credit: Diana Vitoshka

 As hikers returned to the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter rooftop, they attended an after-party with music from a solar-powered DJ, information about local Sierra Club happenings, and of course, snacks and drinks!

 

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Nytes

Sponsors donated products and raffle prizes for hikers to enjoy at the after-party. 

Photo Credit: Amelia Tabullo

There were tacos! Thanks to Mr. J's Kitcken for supplying delicious tacos and supporting our zero waste efforts by bringing corn husks to use as plates!

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Nytes

Plush Puffs brought s'mores on a stick!

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Nytes

FruitGuys brought a bounty of bananas to help tired hikers refuel. 

Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Nytes

Thanks to all of the hikers, volunteers, and sponsors who made the first-ever Team Sierra City Hike a great success. Money raised from the event will help the Sierra Club in its mission to protect the planet, including local initiatives to keep air clean in the greater Los Angeles area.  To learn more about Team Sierra, Sierra Club's fundraising program, visit teamsierra.org. For more information about the Angeles Chapter, click here

Jenny Muschinske is the Fundraising Strategist for Team Sierra, coaching Team Sierra participants from all over the country in raising funds to protect our planet. She ran the Team Sierra Backyard Day Virtual 5K along the Cape Cod National Seashore and hiked on the Appalachian Trail last Earth Day, raising funds to protect the very places she loves exploring.

Announcing Team Sierra's 2020 Race Schedule

Thursday, September 5, 2019

By Jessica Dean

We’re excited to announce our 2020 half marathon schedule in some of the most beautiful places in the country! You’ll receive free entry for one of our featured half marathons when you raise $1,000 to protect our planet.

We’re partnering with companies like Vacation Races and Mascot Sports to bring back some favorites and introduce some new races. Check it out:

NEW! Sedona Half Marathon, 10K, and 5K: February 1, 2020

Sedona Half Marathon

Last year, this race was voted as one of the top 20 half marathons, and we’re excited to be joining the 15th annual race. Sedona is known for its beauty, from its red rock buttes to its steep canyon walls. The course is at 4,500 feet, and it will take you down both paved and dirt roads. Sign up now!

NEW! Statesman Cap10K: April 5, 2020

Join 20,000 other runners and walkers at the largest 10K in Texas. The course, as it winds through downtown Austin, includes seven live bands and finishes with an epic after-party. Join the fun!

NEW! Bay Bridge Half Marathon: May 3, 2020

This year, the race made history as the first-ever half marathon to go across the iconic Bay Bridge. We're excited to join as a fundraising team for its second year! It holds a special place in our hearts because it’s near our home base in Oakland, and we’ll have a team of both Sierra Club staff members and supporters participating. There are only seven slots left, so act fast.

A TEAM SIERRA FAVORITE! Yosemite Half Marathon: May 11, 2020

We’re heading back to our signature race for our 4th year in a row! Last year, our team raised over $40,000 to protect our planet. This race has a gorgeous course that’s mostly downhill, and ends at beautiful Bass Lake. And after the race, you can go visit the park to see Bridal Veil Falls, Half Dome, and El Capitan. This race will sell out, and Team Sierra has only five entries left. So sign up now to secure your slot.

OUR MOST REQUESTED RACE! Yellowstone Half Marathon: June 13, 2020

Yellowstone is America’s first national park, and it is visited by millions each year. There’s nothing else like it in the world -- vibrant colors, hot springs, explosive geysers, and a plethora of wildlife. The race takes place in the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, just outside the entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Be a part of our first team to do this race.

NEW! Glacier Half Marathon: June 22, 2020

You can celebrate Glacier’s 110th Anniversary next year and raise money to protect beautiful places like it! This course is a challenge, with the first five miles uphill. But from there, it’s a downhill with gorgeous views. After you finish the race, you’ll end up at the historic Glacier Park Lodge for an awards ceremony, photos, and more. The lodge sits right outside the park boundaries, so you’ll have quick access to visit the snowcapped peaks. Join now.

A TEAM SIERRA FAVORITE! Great Smoky Mountain Half Marathon: September 2020

September is the best time to see Great Smoky, America’s most visited national park, with warm end-of-summer days and the start of gorgeous fall foliage. We’ll be returning next year with another team, so leave your email here to be one of the first to join the 2020 team.

The money you raise will help protect America’s most beautiful places -- like those that you’ll be running and walking in -- provide clean energy solutions to tackle the climate crisis, save wildlife for future generations, and ensure that these beautiful places are around for years to come. 

Races take place outside national park boundaries for preservation reasons. 

NOTE: 
 Team Sierra is committed to creating fundraising events accessible for everyone. If racing is not for you, check out our other campaigns or contact us


Jessica Dean is the associate director of Team Sierra, the Sierra Club’s fundraising program. She has raised money to protect the planet by running the Yosemite Half Marathon, asking for donations in lieu of gifts for her 32nd birthday, and hosting an Earth Day fundraising hike.

Hike for Clean Air with the Angeles Chapter and Team Sierra

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

By Magda Mendez


UPDATE October 2019: Team Sierra's City Hike: LA was a great success! Check out the recap and photos here!

Did you know that Los Angeles holds the dubious distinction of being the smoggiest city in the US? Our air quality declines every year due to high levels of ozone and particle pollution. The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club arduously fights the EPA and the Southern California Air Quality Management District at hearings and in federal court to implement more effective regulations to reduce such pollutants. We also fight City Council in SoCal to implement strong regulations and restrictions for oil drilling and oil refineries in residential neighborhoods, where communities are exposed to significant hazards from the transport, refining, export, and burning of dirty and dangerous fossil fuels.

Here are some of the big wins and progress we've contributed to: 

  • In Culver City in western L.A. County, public health advocates, led in part by the Sierra Club's Clean Break Committee, persuaded the city council to initiate a study on how to phase out oil production in the city. The move was a turnaround for the council, which less than a year previously had planned to expand extraction of crude from the Inglewood Oil Field, part of which lies under the city.
     
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Department of Water and Power announced that they will abandon plans to repower three large gas plants that provide power to Los Angeles. The announcement provides hope on our ability to arrest the worst impacts of climate change and sets a roadmap for utilities planning for 100 percent clean energy.
     
  • Coal and gas-fired power plants emit more than 2.3 billion metric tons per year of carbon pollution, approximately 40% of total US energy-related carbon pollution. Although there are no coal power plants in SoCal, the  My Gen Campaign  has been working to strengthen the standard, showing we can move from dirty to clean energy and not increase the use of dirty, costly alternatives like natural gas. Learn more about our  Beyond Coal Campaign
     
  • After six months of public outcry, the residents of Glendale succeeded in getting the City Council to vote 4-1 to pause a gas plant expansion at the Grayson site in South Glendale in favor of exploring clean energy alternatives. Had the power plant expanded this is what it would have caused. Glendale was looking at a $500 million expansion of the Grayson Power Plant that would increase emissions by 415,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, increase ozone and particulate pollution, and generate electricity to sell to other cities -- this would be comparable to adding 90,000 more gas-burning cars to Glendale's roads! 
     
  • The Los Angeles City Council passed a motion to clean up this pollution, setting a goal of transitioning the Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s bus fleet to  zero-emission buses by 2030. 


We want a California where all people can breathe healthy air, all energy is clean and renewable, and all communities benefit from a fair economy and a sustainable environment. And the good news is that you can help too. 

HIKE WITH US FOR CLEAN AIR ON SEPTEMBER 28TH!

The Angeles Chapter teamed up with Team Sierra -- a program that aids our many initiatives, to launch our first-ever City Hike fundraising event to support local and national efforts to ensure a  livable community for us and future generations. 

This special city hike will take you on a 3.8-mile or 7.7-mile trek from Koreatown to downtown LA while enjoying the chance of winning prizes, and delicious food and drinks from our sponsors along the way. As we hike, we will connect with nearby nature going through various of LA's most famous parks, such as Grand Park, Vista Hermosa, Pershing Square, and MacArthur Park.

How it Works

After some fun, comes more fun! We will have a rooftop patio party waiting for you.  Check out the route and the event schedule here.  

Let’s raise money to transition LA to 100% clean energy by 2050 and support the conversion of city buses to electric power to reduce pollution, as well as to protect public lands and make the outdoors more accessible for all. 

Sign up today!

Magda Mendez is the Communications Coordinator for the Angeles Chapter and the editor of their newsletters, Southern Sierran and SoCal Now. Connect with her about marketing, communications, and dogs on Linkedin or via email

Why I'm going 70.3 Miles to Save the Planet

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Photos Courtesy of Kat Miller

In 2014, I took a four-month-long road trip across the country with my dog, and I spent most of that time outdoors camping and hiking through state and national parks. Visiting Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, and even a lot of the smaller, less dramatic parks made me fall in love with this country in a way I never had before. I also saw a lot of the places in between, where we’re farming unsustainably or polluting indiscriminately, which was pretty gut-wrenching. When we treat our natural resources like a disposable commodity, we’re being incredibly shortsighted. I now have a small farm where I raise some of my own food, and I volunteer with my local wildlife rehab facility.

Friends and coworkers know me as the person who will climb into a dumpster to sort recycling, or drop everything to help catch an injured owl or a sick opossum. Having the opportunity to challenge myself physically (and mentally!) on behalf of the Sierra Club is a logical extension of my longtime commitment to environmental awareness, and my more recent commitment to my physical health.

This will be my first triathlon. I’m a longtime hiker and backpacker and have taken up running in the last year. I didn’t get my first car until I was 24 (right before my road trip), and I walked or biked everywhere before that. I’ve also been scuba-certified since 2010 and am pretty comfortable in the water. I’m participating in some shorter races throughout the spring and summer to get used to the race atmosphere and navigating around other people.

I’m not approaching the Maine 70.3 with a goal to place highly in the rankings. I have relatively conservative time goals, and I’m working toward them with the help of some friends and coworkers who have completed IRONMAN races in the past. It’s more important to me that I meet my own goals, and show people that if you keep showing up, you can make a significant change in your life. The same is true in every aspect of our lives, right? You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be the best you can. That might sound cheesy, but I spent years telling myself, “I’m not a runner” or “I’m not in shape,” and then one day I finally got off my couch and changed that. I want to show people that you have to be the one to make change happen -- in your own life, in your community, on the planet.

When I first started training, I basically could not swim. As a diver, I’m used to moving through the water, but I’m also used to having my air right there with me. Getting used to swimming WHILE breathing was pretty hard for me at first. I had to have people watch me swim and point out what I was doing wrong. I’ve gotten much more confident in just a few weeks and I’m no longer panicked about the swim, which is definitely my weakest leg!

I prefer to do my training outside, so I’m taking road trips to nearby parks to switch up the scenery. I made a list of every state park within a two-hour drive and what facilities they have -- where I can swim, what kind of trails they have, and whether they have goods roads for biking since my tri bike doesn’t have shocks. I’m looking forward to getting out more and more as the weather improves.

We have a few spots left on our IRONMAN 70.3 team with Team Sierra.  You can join me here. 

Kat Miller is a Team Sierra participant taking on IRONMAN 70.3 Maine in August!

Team Sierra Raises over $40,000 at the Yosemite Half Marathon

Friday, May 17, 2019

By Jenny Muschinske

Photos Courtesy of Jessica Dean & Team Sierra teammates

On May 11, 2019, Team Sierra teammates joined the Vacation Races Yosemite Half Marathon in Bass Lake, CA. At the biggest Team Sierra race yet, teammates enjoyed 13.1 miles of beautiful scenery near the park and raised over $41,000 for the Sierra Club. Here's a peek at what the weekend looked like.

  Sarah, Diana, and Jason show off their Team Sierra swag at the pre-race expo:

Sarah at Expo        

There were plenty of Team Sierra goodies to go around:

  A group of Sierra Club staff up got bright and early, ready to take off on their 13.1-mile adventure:

The scenery along the course was pretty incredible:

Ben, two-time Team Sierra runner, shares his post-race thoughts: 

And Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune, shares some words of wisdom:

Everyone shows off their hard-earned medals:

Registration is open now for the 2020 Yosemite Half Marathon on May 9, 2020. To race with Team Sierra,  sign up here

How 4,237 People Celebrated Earth Day

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

By Jessica Dean 



Last month was an exciting one for celebrating the earth -- 4,273 people, plus their family and friends, raised $135,914 to protect the planet! Across the nation, people got out to pick up trash, plant trees, and explore nature!

Here’s a glimpse into Team Sierra’s Earth Day celebrations:

Adam and Matt at Gambrill State Park

Adam and his husband, Matt, hiked in Grambrill State Park in Maryland for their 3rd Earth Day with Team Sierra.

Janet and Friends Clean Up in West Virginia

Janet and friends had a successful clean-up on the Cheat River in Tucker County, West Virginia.

Caitlin Banana Slug Spotting

Caitlin celebrated with an Easter egg hunt and banana slug spotting contest in NorCal.

Denise and friends at Huntington Beach State Park

Denise and her crew picked up trash all month long at Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina.

Fern’s Team "60 years on Earth" spent the day exploring the LA Arboretum.

Michael and Ariana checked out the super bloom in Malibu Creek State Park.

Wesley picked up trash around his area in Michigan.

Lani and Jonathan enjoyed the beauty of New England with a hike.

Brian and MarkeTeam

Brian gathered his colleagues for a team celebration

Next year is Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, so we’ll be going big!

Get on our list to be the first to know!

Jessica Dean is the associate director of Team Sierra, the Sierra Club’s fundraising program. She has raised money to protect the planet by running the Yosemite Half Marathon, asking for donations in lieu of gifts for her 32nd birthday, and hosting an Earth Day fundraising hike.

Team Sierra Celebrates Zion's 100th Birthday

Monday, March 4, 2019

Photos courtesy of Lucy Murray, Jenny Muschinske, and Lena Nash

Did you know that Zion National Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year?

Team Sierra didn’t want to miss out on the big celebration, so last week we sent a group of teammates to the Zion Centennial Half Marathon. Together, the group raised nearly $25,000 and had an amazing, albeit chilly, experience.

Here’s a glimpse into a weekend in the life of a Team Sierra race teammate:

Springdale, Utah

It was unseasonably snowy and extremely beautiful as seen at the race expo in Springdale, Utah. 

Team Sierra teammates

Team Sierra teammates met the night before the race at the Zion Brew Pub to celebrate the money they raised and prep for race day together. The money raised by Team Sierra helps do things like preserve our public lands (including Zion National Park), protect vulnerable species, and make the outdoors more accessible for everyone. 

Zion Canyon

The race started bright and early, when the sun was just peeking into Zion Canyon.  

Team Sierra fundraising coach Jenny Muschinske

Team Sierra fundraising coach Jenny Muschinske was waiting at the finish line with post-race snacks and Team Sierra swag. 

James, Ryan, and Adam, all from Los Angeles, bundled up to keep warm after their quick finish.

James, Ryan, and Adam, all from Los Angeles, bundled up to keep warm after their quick finish.

Shannon, Lena, and Theresa

Shannon showed off her well-deserved medal at the finish line right outside the park boundaries. | Lena and Teresa made their way to the park gates to say hi. 

Read more

We had so much fun at the Zion Centennial Half Marathon, we’re heading to the Yosemite Half Marathon, the Grand Canyon Centennial Half Marathon, and six other races this year!  Check out the full lineup .