MROSD seats new Coastside board member, hires new Coastside rangers
At the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Board (MROSD) meeting last night, Cecily Harris was sworn in as the newest elected official on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Board of Directors. She was elected in November by voters in El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Montara, Moss Beach, Redwood City, San Carlos and Woodside. The District is divided into seven geographic wards each represented by a board member elected to a four-year term. Harris replaces Director Ken Nitz, who served on the District’s Board for three consecutive terms.
Harris, a San Carlos resident, is a Financial Services Manager with the San Mateo County Parks Department and served nine years as a San Carlos Parks and Recreation Commissioner. She is interested in single and multiple use trails, interpretive programs, and natural resource protection.
Three new rangers, Steve Gibbons, Brad Pennington and Rebecca Trout, were given their badges at the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District’s Board of Directors meeting last night. The hiring process included extensive interviews, a background investigation, psychological exam and a nine-week ranger academy where they were trained as peace officers.
The rangers will work to preserve and protect the District’s 57,000 acres of public open space land. Rangers interact with preserve visitors providing interpretive and educational information, first aid, and law enforcement. They also patrol and maintain roads and trails, complete projects that enhance and restore the natural environment and work to prevent and sometimes fight fire.
The District has two field offices, each with a staff of nine rangers.
Gibbons and Pennington will work from the Skyline field office and cover District lands in the Skyline and Coastside areas. Gibbons has a degree in biology and interned with the National Park Service where he studied big cats and other wildlife. Pennington holds degrees in park management and business administration and has experience in interpretation, maintenance, resource management and visitor services through his work with the Santa Clara County parks.
Trout will work from the Foothills field office serving the open space preserves in the Los Gatos, Saratoga and Cupertino areas. She has degrees in history, biology and ecology and worked as a journalist before joining the District. Two additional rangers entered the ranger academy this week and will be sworn-in after their graduation in the spring.
Director Nonette Hanko was elected President of the Board of Directors, Director Mary Davey was elected Vice President, Director Curt Riffle was elected Treasurer, and Director Jed Cyr was elected Secretary.
As President of the Board, Hanko said she plans to listen closely to new and creative ideas from the District’s general manager and staff and hopes to improve upon the District’s work.
Hanko, along with a handful of key open space preservation proponents, spearheaded an initiative to form the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District in 1970. She has been actively involved ever since, serving on the elected Board of Directors since 1972 including five terms as Board President. She has received numerous awards for her preservation efforts including the World of Out of Doors Award from the Girl Scouts in Santa Clara County and the "Creators of the Legacy" honor as part of the Palo Alto Centennial. In 2004 Hanko was presented with the ‘Woman of the Year’ award for the 21st Assembly District of the California legislature for her remarkable record as a public servant whose volunteer career has spanned more than three decades.