Time to be thankful for all that we have starting with our executive director, Carissa Green.  Thank you for making our chapter more vibrant and consistently bringing your good energy and talent to our board and members this year. We were just awarded a $15,000 Component Resiliency Grant from AIA National because Carissa wrote a compelling case for our small chapter including the distinct impact of COVID-19 and the fires on our region. Bravo Carissa!

I’m grateful for the work of our 2020 Board of Directors and Committee members who supported and participated this year. 2020 highlighted topics that long needed attention and though our chapter is small, we are mighty and feel empowered to meet national and regional challenges head on. Like immediately providing events on working at home, and workplaces going forward, like the first Inclusivity Forums responding to social inequities in our profession, Like Night School training series in marketing and promotion for our smaller practices, like our top-notch, bi-annual design lecture series, North by North Coast.  Yes, I’m bragging about what our Small but Mighty Redwood Empire accomplished -and we will continue to do so.

2020 pointed us in the direction of improvement, growth and change.  We dove in, establishing the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity Committee – aka our JEDI Committee. We curated a Perspective Series featuring women in different stages of their professional journey with attendance levels that shouted, “yes please, bring us more!”

To our Design Awards Committee who created our first virtual awards program, thank you!  This was a professional event and came off without a hitch. It’s interesting to listen to juror’s from outside our region and hear their take on the work we do. I take it personally, it’s my home and livelihood. Our Redwood Empire chapter area serves one of the largest and most diverse terrains in California. We are unique in that way and no one can grasp our region at a glance. Our guest speaker at the design awards, Henry Siegel, showed us that it is attainable to dive into understanding the forest, the land, and respond to it. Henry provided an inspiring lecture, not only with aesthetic designs, but the technical efforts their firm studied to find solutions that bring the carbon footprint down – and this knowledge is available now.

I’m thankful for virtual events which open up access to more of our community at a low cost allowing more sharing of good work and climate knowledge reaching even more architects, engineers, builders and other members. We must continue to connect and expose our minds to new inspiration and new research to further our commitment to a healthier planet now. Our chapter name says so much about who we are and who we can become. We are the Redwood Empire – an empire based on a forest. I like the idea of the trees being in charge of us, ruled by the trees. So lastly, I am thankful for the trees.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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