The Institute at the Golden Gate champions sustainable development and environmental stewardship. Our mission is to drive action and change on the critical issues of our time. Leveraging our expertise and networks—especially those in parks and protected areas—the Institute acts as a catalyst and leader, incubating and implementing new ideas, policies and practices where it can have a clear impact. The Institute is a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service.
Andrew L. Leider is Senior Program Manager of the Climate Change Education and Parks program at the Institute at the Golden Gate. He specializes in collaboration, program leadership, and change strategy, and is a coach and mentor on choice, meaning and purpose for emerging social and environmental professionals. He is a past Director with Orfalea Foundations and Program Manager for Outward Bound. Mr. Leider holds a Somatic Coaching certification from the Strozzi Institute. He lives in San Francisco.
Honoré Pedigo, Administrative and Operations Coordinator, ensures the day to day running of the Institute offices and giving general assistance to the Institute staff. Additionally, Honoré acts as a liaison between our partners Cavallo Point Lodge qualifying environmental groups and answering questions about the dynamic relationships at play at Fort Baker. Honoré, a Bay Area native, holds degrees in Anthropology from University of California, San Diego and enjoys traveling and exploring cultural sites in her free time.
Chris Spence is the Director of the Institute at the Golden Gate. Chris has 20 years’ experience working internationally and in the United States on sustainable development, conservation, climate change, and health policy. He has held leadership positions at non-profits in New York, New Zealand and California. He has also served as a political advisor and is an award-winning writer. Chris is the author or co-author of several books, including Global Warming: Personal Solutions for a Healthy Planet (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005).
Melissa Tsang, Program Manager at the Institute at the Golden Gate, specializes in strategic partnership development with nonprofit organizations, social enterprises, and corporations to design and deliver impact solutions. She has worked across a diverse set of challenges including environmental education, healthcare, sustainable food, and more. As part of the founding Institute team, Melissa has led the development of several key projects and initiatives. She currently oversees the Institute’s sustainable food program. Melissa holds degrees in Biology and Chinese Studies from UC San Diego, a management certificate from Stanford University, and is earning her MBA at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.
Kristin Wheeler, Program Manager at the Institute at the Golden Gate, has a strong background in environmental and social justice issues and training, as well as six years of experience in community organizing. She has been leading the development of the Park Prescriptions pilot in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco and is also serving as the lead facilitator for the Healthy Parks, Healthy People: Bay Area collaborative. Kristin holds degrees in Political Science, Geography, and Art History from Gustavus Adolphus College and has spent significant time abroad studying, researching, and training activists.
Namita M. Koppa currently serves as the Institute's Food for the Parks Consultant. With a background in public health, sustainable food systems, and geospatial analysis, she is passionate about finding holistic, creative, and cost-effective solutions to sustainability challenges. Raised by a mom and dad who love to travel, Namita has fond childhood memories of roadtripping to the nation's most beautiful sites via cargo van. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the world, being active, hearing peoples' stories, making craft beer ice creams, and cheering on the Duke University Blue Devils.
Alison Loomis is a sustainability professional who uses an ecological framework to provide cross-functional guidance to organizations developing innovative strategies, programs, and initiatives. A trained environmental scientist and geographer, Alison holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Cambridge University, UK. Her work in conservation, education, climate change, eco-tourism, and social enterprise is informed by field work with diverse programs in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Madagascar, and Latin America. A lifelong paddler, diver, and back country skier, Alison melds her passion for the great outdoors with creative, journalistic and entrepreneurial talent in driving social change, healthy communities and habitats. Alison joined the Institute at the Golden Gate's Food for the Parks and Climate in the Parks initiatives in 2011.
Nooshin Razani, MD, MPH is a practicing pediatrician at the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland. She was trained as a "Nature Champion" by the National Environmental Education Foundation in 2010. Since that time she has become a champion in the Bay Area of getting individuals and communities outside for their physical and mental health. She is currently the lead medical consultant to the Institute at the Golden Gate’s park prescriptions pilot in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in San Francisco. Additionally, she sits on the leadership team for Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area and is currently launching a family navigation desk in Oakland that provides resources to help connect patients to nature for the betterment of their health.
Mark Buell (Chair), Civic Leader, San Francisco
Suzanne Badenhoop, Civic Leader, San Francisco
Randi Fisher, Pisces Foundation, San Francisco
John Gamble, Managing Partner, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis, LLP, San Francisco
Patsy Ishiyama, Civic Leader, San Francisco
Jay Ku, Head of Corporate Partnerships, GOOD Worldwide, LLC
John McCosker, Chair of Aquatic Biology, California Academy of Sciences
Amy McCombs, Civic Leader, San Francisco
Whitney Mortimer, Partner, Global Marketing Director, IDEO
Julie Parish, Landscape Designer, Liaison to the William Kent Society, San Francisco