Honoring Ralph Bensonby Representative Mike Thompson
Posted on 2014-12-11
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Mr. THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today with my
colleague, Congressman Jared Huffman, to honor Ralph Benson upon his
retirement as Executive Director of the Sonoma Land Trust.
For the past twelve years, Mr. Benson has worked tirelessly to guide, expand and strengthen the Sonoma Land Trust, enabling the organization to better fulfill its goal of protecting and conserving our lands for generations to come. During his time as the Executive Director, Mr. Benson increased the Sonoma Land Trust's budget from $1 million to $5 million, doubled its staff and more than doubled its membership. During his tenure, the Sonoma Land Trust acquired 5,630 acres in the Jenner Headlands and opened the Baylands Center at Sears Point Ranch for use as an environmental education center. Under his leadership, Sonoma Land Trust is currently working on a tidal wetlands restoration project and trail expansion along San Pablo Bay and Highway 37.
Mr. Benson's impressive work to grow his organization and take on sizable projects has bestowed tremendous benefits upon our community. The Sonoma Land Trust now protects 48,000 acres of land, up from 15,000 acres, and has attracted outside capital to the County of Sonoma that amounts to more than $80 million.
Mr. Benson's colleagues credit his success to his ability to foster enduring and productive partnerships and connections. A true leader, Mr. Benson inspired others to believe in his vision of what the Sonoma Land Trust was capable of achieving and with hard-work and his can-do attitude, made his vision a reality.
Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate at this time that we honor and thank Mr. Benson for his invaluable contributions to land conservation in Sonoma County. On behalf of a grateful community, we wish him a most enjoyable retirement.