East Bay lauds land trust director

East Bay leaders this weekend reluctantly sent Muir Heritage Land Trust founder and director Tina Batt off to Harvard.

The land trust’s annual fund-raiser dinner, Fresh Aire Affaire, was a tribute to Batt, who has been selected to participate in a year-long fellowship for mid-career folks at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The dinner is held underneath the big, old trees on the grounds of the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez.

Batt is widely revered for her nearly two-decade quest to preserve open space in Contra Costa County through the purchase of land as it becomes available. Two of the East Bay’s most ardent open space advocates, Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg, touted Batt’s work during the Saturday evening event.

Batt, also the wife of Bob Doyle, the influential deputy general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District, has actually already started her coursework at Harvard. She described to the several hundred folks at the gala about the exciting international cast of colleagues in the program as well as the tough curriculum.

Described as a consummate professional, Batt says she was motivated to apply for the Harvard program out of her growing concern about global warming, “or climate change, as they call it at Harvard,” she told the audience.

The coastal separation from her family and friends won’t be easy, she says. But her husband, Doyle, adamantly denied rumors that he has purchased a jet in order to spend more time with his wife. (That’s a joke, folks!)

Lisa Vorderbrueggen