Michael Gillogly: Three Decades of Stewardship

Honoring Three Decades of Stewardship

By Jane & Herb Dwight – Pepperwood Founders

It was 22 years ago when, prior to submitting a bid to the California Academy of Sciences for the purchase of Pepperwood, Jane and I defined our shared vision for what we were about to undertake. We envisioned a place where conservation science, research and nature education could meet, and connect people with the places that sustain them. Considering where the organization stands today, our expectations have been greatly exceeded, thanks to the amazing accomplishments of Pepperwood’s enormously talented and dedicated staff.

Michael Gillogly, Pepperwood’s Preserve Manager

We’d like to uplift a particular member of the staff whose long-standing tenure has had a profound impact on the continued resiliency and success of Pepperwood – our Preserve Manager, Michael Gillogly. His nearly 30 years-long service and stewardship is what we’d like to honor. Michael’s presence is a gift to all who meet him. Jane and I would like to portray this, by sharing with you the words of those who work closest with him:

“Michael lives and breathes Pepperwood every day. He is a person that gets things done while encouraging and inspiring the people around him. Michael is an innovative and respected leader in the land stewardship community.”   
– Devyn Friedfel, Natural Resource Specialist

“Michael is a tireless guardian of Pepperwood. Working alongside him, I have absorbed his deep knowledge of the preserve, opening my senses to the valuable lessons that can only come from being intimately connected to a place over many years and seasons. His leadership in bringing essential ecological processes back to the land so that the wildflowers and wildlife may thrive is a gift to us all.”
– Michelle Halbur, Preserve Ecologist

From left to right: Tosha Comendant, Ryan Ferrell, Michelle Halbur, Michael Gillogly, at a 2016 prescribed burn.

“In the time I’ve known Michael and his family, I’ve seen his strong spirit and unwavering resilience. He’s the type of person who takes a deep breath, shows the pain and joy in his eyes unapologetically, and moves on through any struggles with remarkable strength and dedication. He leads with a kind heart, depth of character, and genuine honesty. I am proud and honored to know him as a colleague and friend.” 
– Margaret Boeger, Education Director

“Michael leads by example. Through a multitude of emergencies in the past few years Michael has been steadfast, honest, sensitive, and remarkably strong. He rescued me when my car ran out of gas; he pulled a visitor’s stuck truck out of the mud; and most importantly, he literally saved lives as he single-handedly alerted and woke all the neighboring households to evacuate during the Tubbs Fire. He understands our land, water and wildlife better than anyone, and his hard work and determination to do things right, is felt across these 3200-acres and beyond.”
– Sloane Shinn, Community Engagement 

It is an honor and a privilege to work with Michael. We have long considered him a friend and mentor. When Jane and I chose to purchase Pepperwood and make it “forever wild,” we could not have known the beauty of the adventure that was to unfold. But we are filled with joy to see people like Michael, and people like you, breathe life into this vision as we inspire conservation through science together. 

From left to right: Lisa Micheli, Herb Dwight, Michael Gillogly, Jane Dwight, and Cassandra Liu at the groundbreaking ceremony for Pepperwood’s post-Tubbs Fire rebuilding projects in September of 2019.

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