October 12, 2018–Stinson Beach, CA – Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), a leader in conservation science, habitat preservation, and nature education, announced today a new partnership to rehabilitate the North Bay’s relationship with prescribed fire, lower the risks of future wildfire, and restore the ecology of our region.

The Farley Family Charitable Foundation has granted $660,000 to Audubon Canyon Ranch, over the next two years, to develop its Fire Forward initiative into a vital resource for the region. The Foundation has already contributed generously to ACR’s Living with Lions project, and this new gift reflects the Foundation's interest in our work to build a future of fire-adapted landscapes and communities, as well as contribute to the science of fire ecology.

Last October, Tim Farley, son of the foundation’s founders Jim and Nancy Farley of Chicago, watched the Nuns fire lap very close to his property on Sonoma Mountain, nearly destroying all he had. “This was a wake-up call to me and the entire community,” said Tim. “My family foundation has a clear interest in supporting science and the environment, and I realized that ACR’s Fire Forward program would be an excellent partner in creating practical approaches toward protecting ourselves and the region. We hope that this gift will encourage others to support ACR’s leadership in this community-wide effort.

“We are deeply grateful to the Farley Family Charitable Foundation for this transformational gift,” said John Petersen, ACR’s executive director. “It accelerates our ability as a community to tackle the central issues surrounding fire and the tending of our private and public lands. Tim Farley has first-hand knowledge of maintaining ecological health and resiliency through his work as a landscape designer. He knew about ACR’s controlled burns conducted at Bouverie Preserve more than a year ago, and how those areas dramatically reduced the course and impact of last fall’s wildfire.”

Fire Forward envisions a future of fire-adapted landscapes and fire-adapted communities in the North Bay. Fire Forward works in partnership with residents, conservation organizations, land managers, fire professionals, and tribal representatives to conduct ecological burning and vegetation management. Using ACR’s Bouverie Preserve as a living laboratory, Fire Forward will host community workshops on fire management best practices.

Audubon Canyon Ranch (ACR), is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit environmental conservation and education organization based in the San Francisco North Bay Area. The organization’s mission, Connecting nature, people and science in a rapidly changing world, reflects our belief that we urgently need to integrate the natural world into our communities and lives, using science-based decision-making to address the staggering ecological and social challenges facing our planet.

ACR understands that our future depends upon an educated and involved citizenry working together to solve environmental challenges. Since its founding in 1962, Audubon Canyon Ranch has distinguished itself as a respected leader in this effort by conducting and publishing award-winning conservation science that in turn informs its education programs and the preservation and stewardship of more than 5,000 acres of acres of threatened and vulnerable habitats.

ACR's programs are made possible thanks to the contribution of thousands of hours of volunteer service, and donations from caring individuals, foundations and businesses.

The Farley Family Charitable Foundation was founded in 2003 by Jim and Nancy Farley of Chicago. In 2008, they endowed the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, housed in the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University. Jim Farley was a firm believer in entrepreneurship and philanthropy, stemming from his groundbreaking work in electrical and mechanical engineering. The company he founded, SpeedFam-IPEC, was acquired by Novellus Systems in 2002—which is now LAM Research. Jim was named 1997 Entrepreneur of the Year by USA Today, Ernst & Young, the Kauffman Foundation, and Nasdaq. He passed away in 2012 and Nancy in 2017.

Jim and Nancy instilled their belief in philanthropy to their five children who now direct the foundation. They have four clear areas of interest for their philanthropy--education, science, medicine, and environmental conservation.

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