convene (7)

  • Every year from November through April, the Institute’s Convene program offers a special discounted rate at Cavallo Point - the Lodge at the Golden Gate to nonprofit and government groups addressing environmental, conservation, or sustainability issues. This year, we welcomed 27 groups of varying sizes and for various purposes. From small gatherings, steering committees, and roundtable discussions to board meetings, strategy sessions, multi-day seminars, and international conferences, all our guests took advantage of the stunning setting while exploring some of the most critical environmental issues of our time. 

    One of the groups that joined us this past year was The Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) Feedstocks Division, a U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Center led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and dedicated to developing advanced biofuels. One of their core values is safeguarding public health and the environment by curbing the effects of climate change. The Feedstocks Division focuses on developing specialty biofuel crops (or “feedstocks”) that are more readily converted into biofuels. Their goal is to develop bioenergy crops that can thrive with little fertilization or irrigation on land unusable for growing food crops.

    The division’s recent gathering was an opportunity to bring together research staff and directors, collaborators from UC Davis and the University of Cambridge, and guests from each of the three other JBEI research divisions. With their first time staying at Cavallo Point through the Convene program, Leah Freeman Sloan, JBEI Feedstocks Division on-site coordinator noted that “Everyone had a wonderful visit. We were impressed by the quality of the hotel and meeting rooms, and stunned by the beauty of the location.”

    JBEI Feedstocks Division Annual Meeting group (photo by JBEI)

    We were glad to provide JBEI an affordable location as they discussed important matters impacting our environment. We welcome all nonprofit and governmental groups tackling similar issues to apply through the Convene program. 

    Plan ahead for your meeting during our next Institute rate period, from November 2017 to April 2018. Find out more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our website.

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  • The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is the industry leader in providing professional development, products, and support services related to the Project Based Learning (PBL) teaching and learning methodology. Through this method, K-12 students work on extended projects that engage them in solving real-world problems. They demonstrate their knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills while also focusing on teamwork, confidence, public speaking, and resilience. Projects often involve environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability, pollution, and habitat protection, including one created by the National Environmental Education Foundation and curated by BIE.

    This year, BIE gathered 25 prominent educators and representatives of organizations with an interest in PBL at Cavallo Point through the Convene program for their High Quality PBL Steering Committee with the aim to develop guidelines for widespread adoption. The national park lodge and surrounding Fort Baker area created “the sense of being ‘away from it all’ yet not remote from the real world around us,” the BIE organizers said. “The location is one of the main attractions; having the close-up view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the dramatic landscape of the San Francisco Bay gives a sense of importance and ‘world-classness’ to the work we do there. The site and the way the historic buildings have been preserved yet modernized creates a feeling that ‘we are doing some historic work here.’ Being able to stroll the grounds amid the scenery gives participants in events the opportunity for reflection and contemplation.”

    High-Quality PBL Steering Committee at Cavallo Point (Photo Credit: BIE)

    While PBL is gaining awareness and acceptance, there is a concern that quick growth without focus could dilute the marketplace and effectiveness of a proven method. As such, BIE hopes to facilitate the development of PBL implementation guidelines to be used by teachers, schools, districts and states, other countries, education support organizations, curriculum providers, and researchers. While this is just the first step of their 4-year strategic plan, the group meeting at Cavallo Point generated initial ideas for defining the characteristics that must be present for a project to be deemed “high quality”. By Spring 2018, BIE hopes to finalize the guidelines and publish them on a website accessible to the public.

    The Institute at the Golden Gate was happy to provide an inspiring backdrop for BIE’s important work. The Convene program offers special discounted rates to non-profit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues and runs annually from November through April. Learn more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.

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  • Convene - The Nature Conservancy at Cavallo Point

    The Nature Conservancy, established in 1951, has a mission to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. With such a mission, Cavallo Point – the Lodge at the Golden Gate was the perfect place to host their latest team retreat for the Office of the Chief Scientist. Through the Convene program–the Institute’s partnership with Cavallo Point–we aim to ensure that this national park lodge is available and affordable to organizations addressing important issues around the environment and sustainability.

    With a focus on science ranging from agriculture and climate to marine life and urban conservation, The Nature Conservancy’s more than 600 scientists, researchers, analysts, and innovators are an integral part of the organization’s work to protect the planet. This past December’s meeting allowed a small portion of this group, the Office of the Chief Scientist, to gather and train their team, set global strategy for the coming year, and socialize in a relaxed setting. Retreat attendees work all over the world using decision science tools from economics and applied mathematics to formulate and solve conservation problems in the real world. Gathering the group at Cavallo Point proved to be the perfect central location: close to an international airport, easy and quick to get to, and a great backdrop for a conservation-focused organization.

    Cavallo Point lies within Fort Baker, encompassing 335 acres around a cove north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The area provides miles of coastal and inland trails, diverse flora and fauna, and a mix of historic and modern, eco-friendly structures. “The natural setting was amazing and perfect for our group!” Sarah-Kate Weaver, Executive Coordinator for the Office of the Chief Scientist said. “Our team members loved being able to connect with nature. We went for a beautiful hike, and people were able to go for morning and evening walks on their own to get out in nature. On the very first day folks excitedly reported seeing a coyote, fish, many kinds of birds, and seals! We were blown away by the Lodge. The rooms were beautiful with incredible views of the bridge and city. We were very impressed with the professionalism and responsiveness of the staff.”

    The Convene program’s discounted rate period runs annually from November through April, providing an affordable and beautiful meeting place for non-profit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues. Learn more about the Convene program, how your group may qualify, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.

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  • The Association of Women in Water, Energy and the Environment (AWWEE) held their recent mini-conference at Cavallo Point through the Convene program. Convene is a partnership between the Institute at the Golden Gate and Cavallo Point – the Lodge at the Golden Gate committed to bringing high-quality programming around conservation and environmental issues.

    Photo credit: AWWEE Facebook

    Started in 2009, AWWEE is a nonprofit organization focused on providing women in the water, energy, and environment fields opportunities to expand their knowledge and professional networks. Throughout the year, they host events connected to current environmental issues, ranging from climate change and the effects of the drought on our forests, to renewable resources and sustainability. In addition to events focused on industry issues, trends, developments, and policies, they also host a “Path to Power” series focusing on women’s personal and professional journeys to success. In just the past seven years, AWWEE has hosted more than 100 events for more than 1,000 members, friends, and, colleagues.

    The mini-conference at Cavallo Point boasted a Path to Power panel, skills session, and update on the organization’s upcoming events and programs. It also served as an opportunity for members to connect with each other and enjoy the beautiful location and surroundings at Fort Baker. After hosting their bi-annual conference here in 2015, many guests requested a chance return, and this was the perfect opportunity. As Meghan Roberts, the AWWEE executive director stated, “There’s little not to love at Cavallo Point. The meeting space was perfect for our group of 75. As the event organizer, the service planning our event and the support the day of the event were wonderful. I could rest easy the nights leading up to the event because I was certain that everything would be handled seamlessly – and it was!”

    We were glad AWWEE hosted their event at Fort Baker through the Convene program. Every year from November through April, Convene offers a special discounted rate to nonprofit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues. Learn more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.


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  • Convene with Purpose

    This week's blog post is written by Jamie Yeh, Convene marketing consultant. Jamie brings more than 15 years of marketing and communications experience to the Institute at the Golden Gate. Working on Convene allows her to use this depth of knowledge to promote a personal passion—parks and public spaces—and bring awareness to a program creating more accessibility to organizations large and small. Prior to joining the Institute, Jamie worked with the Center for Social Sector Leadership at Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

    November begins the special Institute at the Golden Gate rate period at Cavallo Point – the Lodge at the Golden Gate. Extending through April of next year, this rate provides a discounted rate for nonprofit or government organizations gathering to discuss conservation and environmental issues.

    Cavallo Point is a world-class, LEED-certified lodge constructed on national park grounds. As such, they are focused on furthering the National Park Service’s mission to preserve natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. It was built in a unique partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Together, they focus on the shared vision to maintain the beautiful surrounding historic and natural features of Fort Baker while providing inspiring meeting space for the exchange and discussion of environmental topics.

    The Institute-Cavallo Point partnership—known as the Convene program—supports fostering new ideas, sharing best practices, encouraging leadership, and supporting public policy changes that will benefit people and the planet. We believe that parks and public lands can play a critical role in tackling many of our biggest social and environmental challenges and hope the national park setting facilitates discussions that lead to specific plans and actions.

    The Convene program welcomes all environmentally-focused organizations and meetings, and especially those that:
    - Are action-oriented
    - Represent diverse perspectives and sectors
    - Provide for public engagement
    - Have national and international impact
    - Serve as a model for others
    - Inspire organizational and individual commitment and action
    - Result in partnerships
    - Disseminate results
    - Build youth as future leaders
    - Contribute to the Institute’s breadth and depth

    We hope you take advantage of this special rate period at Cavallo Point, where great ideas and great spaces meet.

    Find out more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.

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  • Convene - Our Longest Standing Program

    Most of you are probably familiar with the Institute at the Golden Gate’s programmatic work, including our Health, Climate Education, and Urban Programs, but you may not be as aware of our Convene Program, our longest standing program.

    When the Institute first began in 2008, the mission was to welcome environmental organizations and government groups to host environmentally-focused gatherings at Cavallo Point – the Lodge at the Golden Gate at a discounted rate. We ensured that groups working to protect beautiful lands like Fort Baker had the opportunity to utilize this inspiring park setting. The Institute also played a convening role and hosted several large-scale conferences at Cavallo Point Lodge that focused on collaboration and finding innovative solutions to environmental challenges. These Turning the Tide Conferences inspired some of our programs, such as our Food and Health Programs.

    In recent years, our Convene Program has focused on the Institute’s role as a connector for other organizations to host their own meetings, conferences, and retreats at Cavallo Point Lodge. There’s a wide spectrum of groups that host their events at Cavallo, ranging from board meetings to internationally recognized conferences of more than 200 attendees. We welcome nonprofits and government groups to host overnight environment and/or sustainability focused meetings from November through April of each year. To learn more about how to qualify for the discounted rate, visit our website.

    If you’re not too familiar with Cavallo Point Lodge, let me paint a picture for you. Imagine sitting in a conference room, and feeling the warmth of natural sunlight shining through the window. Imagine being able to sit outside on a porch during a break in the schedule, enjoying the fresh air, and gazing out at the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Imagine stepping out of your room or meeting onto an expansive Parade Ground, fit for walking, picnicking, playing a game, or just relaxing. Imagine wanting to stretch your legs, and being able to take a stroll on the hill behind the hotel to seeing views of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the skyline of San Francisco.

    The stunning vistas and outdoor opportunities are just some of the benefits of staying at Cavallo Point Lodge. The one of a kind venue also has outstanding customer service, eco-friendly indoor facilities, and delectable food options from an award-winning restaurant.

    The priority period for 2015 – 2016 has already begun, but there’s still time! Apply here to qualify for the discounted rate, which extends through April 2016.

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  • Great Ideas Come in Great Spaces

    Think your nonprofit can’t afford lodging and meeting space in one of California’s top luxury hotels in the heart of a national park? Think again.

    The Institute proudly partners with Cavallo Point Lodge to welcome nonprofits and government overnight groups for environmental or park focused meetings November through April of each year.

    Just minutes from San Francisco with eco-friendly indoor facilities and a delectable food options including a Michelin-starred restaurant, Cavallo Point Lodge is the perfect setting for your next meeting.  Call today to arrange an in-person walk-through or discuss details for your meeting. Visit our Convene page for more information.

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