Educator and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato opens up about the critical importance of local wildlife conservation.
From preserving unique natural habitats to helping to curb pollution, wildlife conservation has long been a passion of popular Marin County teacher Kevin McDonald Novato. Involved in the field since college, McDonald is as keen as ever to reiterate the continued importance of conservation efforts in California’s Bay Area and elsewhere across the U.S.
“I’ve always been passionate about wildlife conservation,” explains California-based teacher and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato, speaking from his home in northern Marin County.
Today a popular science and math teacher, Kevin McDonald Novato became heavily involved with wildlife conservation and ecosystem restoration during his time at Minnesota’s Carleton College in Northfield. “I became involved in ecosystem restoration in college,” reveals McDonald, “where we replanted grasslands with native grasses and wildflowers among a wealth of other projects.”
Now back in California, some 2,000 miles away from Northfield’s grasslands, Kevin McDonald Novato remains just as passionate about wildlife conservation. “Wildlife conservation is incredibly important across the board, and especially so here in the San Francisco Bay Area,” suggests Kevin.
“The Bay Area is regarded as one of North America’s most notable hotspots for biodiversity,” points out Kevin McDonald Novato. Urban sprawl, however, is more and more rapidly beginning to impact the area’s wildlife, destroying habitats, adding to air pollution, and contributing massively toward ongoing issues with poor water quality, he says. “Almost 500,000 acres of the natural landscape are now thought to be at risk of significant wildlife-impacting development,” reveals the expert.
Because of this, it’s crucial that the importance of Bay Area wildlife conservation continues to be discussed, according to Kevin McDonald Novato. Even with Endangered Species Act protections now in place, there’s still much to be done to ensure the future of the region’s wildlife, McDonald says. “The same is true elsewhere in California, too,” adds the conservationist, “as well as across huge swathes of the rest of the United States.”
Thankfully, a wealth of wildlife and nature organizations now exist in and around San Francisco’s Bay Area. These include the Bay Area Open Space Council, the Big Sur Land Trust, the California Native Plant Society, the Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration, the Committee for Green Foothills, Grassroots Ecology, the Greenbelt Alliance, Marine Life Studies, Native Bird Connections, Nature in the City, the San Francisco Naturalist Society, San Francisco Nature Education, and The Watershed Project. “It’s imperative that we support these organizations and their counterparts elsewhere across the country wherever possible,” Kevin McDonald Novato notes.
Educator and published author Kevin McDonald Novato was born and raised in Sonoma County, California, and later graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota, where he played on the soccer team and worked in the arboretum. Following graduation, Kevin McDonald Novato spent four years in Tokyo teaching English, studying Japanese, and learning the art of karate. He then returned to California, where he remains today, and where he’s now been teaching for more than twenty years.
In his free time, Kevin McDonald Novato still plays soccer and, on the weekends, enjoys attending concerts and art shows with his wife. Incredibly well-traveled, educator and conservationist Kevin McDonald Novato has visited six of the world’s seven continents and plans to add Antarctica to the list in the near future.