2018 California Regional Adaptation Leadership Awards

Congratulations to 2018 California Regional Adaptation Leadership Award honorees Tiffany Wise-West, Andrew Gunther, and Nicola Hedge! Thank you for your contributions and leadership in the field of climate adaptation.


Tiffany Wise-West: Co-Winner

Sustainability & Climate Action Manager, City of Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Tiffany Wise-West is showing visionary leadership in Central Coast, building on a vast amount of location-specific work in the City of Santa Cruz and working as a communicator, educator and convenor focusing on frontline communities. Her cross-sectoral approach and work with different communities to achieve inclusive, resilience strategies has made her work notable throughout the region.

Harnessing substantive coordination and science for the Central Coast, Tiffany has held many different roles related to climate work in the Santa Cruz community. Starting as an engineer, she’s worked with many local governments as a science communicator. Her interdisciplinary approach, willingness to take on challenges, and clear focus on social vulnerability and cross-sector, comprehensive planning has earned this action-oriented changemaker the 2018 Adaptation Leadership Award. Congratulations, Tiffany!


Andrew (Andy) Gunther: Co-Winner

Executive Coordinator, Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium

Oakland, CA

Andrew (Andy) Gunther has spent 18 years building scientific consensus around ecosystem management in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dr. Gunther pioneered developing easy-to-understand indicators and actionable science that led to the creation of the first State of the Bay Report, an instrument still used today to help assess the health of San Francisco Bay.

As the Executive Coordinator of the Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium since 2011, he has engaged more than 200 regional scientists, agencies, and non-profits to produce a set of visionary management recommendations for Bay Area shorelines to restore and maintain these vital ecosystems in the face of climate change, including their role in building resilience to sea level rise. His work has proven pivotal and foundational for climate adaptation in the Bay Area, and we are pleased to present him with the 2018 Adaptation Leadership Award. Congratulations, Andy!



Nicola Hedge: Special Recognition

Director, Environmental Initiatives, The San Diego Foundation

San Diego, CA

The RALA selection committee is also thrilled to give special recognition to Nicola Hedge’s talent for communication and collaboration across the spectrum. She has worked actively with government, nonprofit, academic, business, and philanthropic leaders to move the needle on a shared understanding of what is at stake and to catalyze more regional adaptation across sectors.

Nicola served as first Vice Chair of the statewide Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, a network to help regions better collaborate, implement best practices, and advocate for regional approaches to address climate change resilience. As a philanthropic leader in the community, she worked with The San Diego Foundation to develop their Climate Initiative, including the Regional Focus 2050 study, the first comprehensive regional assessment in California to understand the impacts of a changing climate. Through her outreach and leadership, Foundation-published studies have informed city climate action plans in San Diego County, as well  as the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, Regional Sea Level Rise Assessment, SANDAG’s Regional Climate Action Strategy and many others. Congratulations, Nicola!