Redwood Parks Conservancy’s Executive Director Announces Retirement

This is a press release from the Redwood Parks Conservancy:

Redwood Parks Conservancy (RPC) announces that its executive director, Cathy Bonser, will be retiring on March 31, 2019, after eight years of dedicated service. The board expresses its tremendous gratitude to Ms. Bonser for her years of leadership and vision. In Cathy’s eight years of service, RPC has shown remarkable growth and development of both the organization and partner relationships.

Under Ms. Bonser’s leadership, RPC has grown from a small regional nonprofit to a large, rapidly growing, nationally recognized benefactor for the redwoods and public lands. When comparing the financial information from 2017 to 2011 the organization’s net assets increased by 325% and gross revenues increased by 594%.

Before taking up the Executive Director’s position at RPC, Cathy was a member of the board of the predecessor organization, Redwood Park Association. From 2008-2010, she worked on the merger of the North Coast Redwoods Interpretive Association with Redwood Park Association to make one support nonprofit group.

In 2011, Cathy left the board to step in as the interim director until July of that year, when the position became permanent for her. In 2011, RPC had two permanent and one seasonal employee. Today, there are 10 permanent and 17 seasonal employees. Cathy has built RPC’s support for its partners to include interpretive, educational and stewardship needs. RPC now receives annually, over ten grants and obtains donated funds through at least three annual events. Last year, RPC had donations and pledges surpassing $500,000 of support for our partner’s unfunded needs. Cathy has built RPC to assure that educational and interpretive information and material is available in seven visitor centers, and support volunteer services of 5,000 hours annually.

Looking back on her time with RPC, Cathy remembered that “When I started as Executive Director in 2011, I expected it to last only as long as it was challenging and rewarding. Now, almost eight years later, every day continues to be filled with interesting and rewarding work supporting our incredible public lands and the people who manage them. I’ll continue helping Redwood Parks Conservancy into the future as a volunteer while I spend more time with my husband, children and grandchildren. I have loved this job – the most wonderful of my long career.”

RPC partners with twelve California State Parks, Redwood National Park, Smith River National Recreation Area (a part of the U.S. Forest Service), and the Bureau of Land Management’s Headwaters Forest Reserve.

“Cathy has done a great job in nurturing partnership relations, sales, staffing and donations. Her efforts have greatly helped make RPC the great organization that it is today. Cathy is leaving us on a much stronger foundation for the future.” said Zach Zwerdling board chair.

In her remaining months Ms. Bonser will continue to run RPC. Cathy will remain in the Del Norte/Humboldt County region and continue to advise and assist RPC. The Board of Directors is very grateful for her service.


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