Bay of Life Fund

The Fund:

Gifts to this fund support local nonprofit organizations active in conservation and education in the Monterey Bay region, with a focus on partnerships and collaborative efforts with the Bay of Life Project launched by Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom.

The Project:

The Bay of Life Project connects land and sea and people with nature to promote a unified view of the Monterey Bay region through publications, exhibitions, events, and partnerships. The Project aims to stimulate engagement that contributes to a sustainable future for the Bay of Life.

Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom have documented our living planet on assignment for National Geographic for more than 30 years. But the place they know best is California’s Monterey Bay, where they have lived for decades. “To us, Monterey Bay is one of Earth’s crown jewels,” they state. “We know of no other place in the world where land and sea connect in such an extraordinary way."

Monterey Bay is a place of giants, from redwood forests on land to forests of kelp offshore. It supports iconic wildlife from secretive mountain lions to majestic blue whales. All survive in a region where far-flung migrants mix with rare local species that live nowhere else in the world.

The natural abundance of the Monterey Bay region is the result of a unique mix of physical features and microclimates, shaped by the powerful influence of the ocean. A century ago, demand for natural resources stripped the land of trees and depleted the sea of marine mammals and fish. But that ecological collapse has been reversed in our time.

Bay of Life chronicles a remarkable recovery, which shows that damaged ecosystems can be restored when people care and take action together. Such stories of hope are needed as we face new challenges of habitat connectivity, climate change, and the need for more inclusive opportunities for our diverse communities.

The book, Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales, is the centerpiece of the Bay of Life Project and was published in the fall of 2022. A traveling photography exhibition featuring images and stories from Bay of Life debuted at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History in January 2023. The website is the portal to images, stories, videos and other content from the project, along with a calendar of events and links to partner organizations.

The Santa Cruz County Office of Education has created a school curriculum based on Bay of Life which was released in the first quarter of 2023. Additional partnerships and programs are in development.

Thank you for your support of the Bay of Life Fund.

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