Nonette Hanko is an environmental pioneer and one of the founders of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. As she prepares to retire after 46 consecutive years on our board of directors, we are recognizing the trails she blazed that shape our region. The undeveloped open spaces surrounding our communities, from the baylands to the foothills and forested mountains, exist in large part because of the vision and vigilance of Nonette and her  fellow conservationists.

In its infancy, Midpen focused mainly on acquiring land. Today, Midpen is balancing land conservation with environmental restoration and public recreation and education. Nonette has been there every step of the way, keeping us grounded in the founding vision that is just as clear and essential now as it was in 1972.

Nonette’s story shows us how critical community support is to the success of public open space. Here at Midpen, we’re expanding our efforts to deepen community connections and engage more voices in the tireless work of conservation. We each play an important role in realizing the vision of “room to breathe,” and inspiring the next generation as Nonette did for us.

  Ana María Ruiz,

General Manager