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Friday, January 17, 2014

Staff Interview: Tom Maloney

Tom contemplating the future of conservation. . . or is he napping?

For this week's staff interview, we talk with Executive Director Tom Maloney. As the first ED of Tejon Ranch Conservancy, Tom has successfully navigated the implementation of the Ranch-wide Agreement as well as overseen the drafting of the first ever Ranch-wide Management Plan written by the Conservancy. Let's see what he has to say for himself:

Where are you from? What’s your background?
 My life has essentially been bi-coastal with New England being where I have spent most of my adult life.  I went to college at Boston University and Graduate School at Antioch New England in Keene, NH.  Prior to moving back to California – where I spent my junior high school and high school years – I worked on the Connecticut River and in the pine barrens of Massachusetts.

Word on the street is that you’re a big birder. Can you describe a favorite birding moment on Tejon Ranch?
  There have been several but the one that still stands out is a phenomenal migration morning on May 1, 2009.  Conservancy staff and Audubon California staff witnessed hundreds of neo-tropical migrant songbirds migrate off of the Mojave desert into Sacatara Canyon at the southeast corner of the Ranch.  This reinforced the role that these desert canyons can play in the migratory ecology of many species.  Further understanding that has been a challenge but the Conservancy and other partners have been trying to as a way to inform the siting and operations of industrial scale wind energy projects in the Tehachapi Mountains.
I’m proud that one of the Conservancy’s first restoration projects is in Sacatara Canyon.

Is there anything in particular on Tejon Ranch you have not yet seen?

So much!  This is a vast landscape and I haven’t had enough time to just explore…

Please describe one amazing nature moment you had in 2013.

Over Christmas, my wife and I had the opportunity to snorkel in the company of whale sharks near Espiritu Santo Island off of La Paz, Baja.  Ever since I was a little kid watching Jacques Cousteau specials, this has been a dream of mine.

We at the Conservancy are pretty big audiophiles. Can you list 5 of your favorite albums?

In no particular order, Neil Young, Live at Massey Hall, Talking Heads, Fear of Music, Pink Floyd, Meddle, Rolling Stones,  Exile on Main Street and, in the current rotation, Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record. For the record, I think Wilco is today's Great American Band.

We like to talk about how Tejon Ranch is at the confluence of 4 of Ca’s major ecoregions (southwestern Ca, SJV, Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert). Do you have a favorite one?

Not really.  I think my favorite thing about Tejon is finding sites where these habitats are all jumbled together.

Besides Tejon Ranch, can you list 5 California locations you love?

1.        The Eastern Sierra Nevada – it’s like the Tetons on steroids!
2.       The Central Coast – centrally located but far from everything with great wine.
3.       The North Coast – I spent a lot of time fishing there with my older brothers. And great wine.
4.       The Trinity Alps – amazing peaks and great backpacking.
5.       The Carrizo Plain – a glimpse of what the southern San Joaquin Valley may have looked like…
So many more.


L to R: Dan Ashe, Director of the USFWS; Mark Kehke, VP, DMB Pacific Ventures; Joel Reynolds, Western Region Director, NRDC and Tom Maloney, Executive Director of Tejon Ranch Conservancy