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Rachel Dann joins Sempervirens Fund as Director of Government Relations

Portrait image of Sempervirens Fund's Director of Government Relations Rachel Dann standing in front of a coast redwood tree.

Sempervirens Fund’s Director of Government Relations Rachel Dann

Contact: Matt Shaffer, 415-609-2750,

Santa Cruz, Calif. (Dec. 19, 2023) – Sempervirens Fund, California’s first and oldest land trust, has hired Rachel Dann, a key aide to many notable politicians in the Monterey Bay Area, to serve as the organization’s first-ever director of government relations. Dann will develop and advance the organization’s conservation agenda.

“It’s an honor to work with an organization so deeply committed to the conservation and preservation of the iconic redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains,” said Dann. “Protecting the redwoods is not just about preserving these majestic trees. It’s about safeguarding a vital part of our planet’s ecosystem and heritage for future generations. I am excited to engage with the community, stakeholders, and elected officials to further our impactful conservation efforts.”

Dann’s responsibilities involve crafting and implementing advocacy strategies that promote not only the protection of these iconic forests but also equitable and inclusive public access to them. She works closely with various government entities, including state agency leaders and legislators, to secure funding and advance policies for land acquisition and stewardship projects.

“Rachel’s rich experience in local politics, combined with a steadfast commitment to environmental conservation, positions her perfectly to make a significant impact in preserving our beloved redwood forests,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley. “Rachel’s expertise and understanding of our community’s needs will be pivotal in navigating the challenges and opportunities in protecting these natural treasures.”

Dann has worked in politics for more than two decades in the Monterey Bay region. She began by working for former Congressman Sam Farr from 2000 to 2005, serving as a senior field representative. She went on to play pivotal roles in local government, including serving as an analyst and chief of staff for former Santa Cruz County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty. Dann also served on the Santa Cruz County Planning Commission and as a member of Santa Cruz County’s Integrated Waste Management Local Task Force. Dann also served on the staff of Supervisor and Coastal Commissioner Justin Cummings during his transition to the Board and as District Director to Congressman Jimmy Panetta in 2023.

“I am thrilled to hear about Rachel’s new role at Sempervirens Fund. Her extensive policy experience and commitment to environmental stewardship are vital for our shared vision of conserving the redwoods,” said Justin Cummings, Santa Cruz County Third District Supervisor. “Rachel’s expertise will be instrumental in enhancing public access while protecting our invaluable coastal resources.”

“Rachel is a highly esteemed political strategist, renowned for her extensive connections with regional policymakers and key figures,” commented Sara Barth, Executive Director of Sempervirens Fund. “As we face the critical challenge of climate change, Sempervirens Fund is committed to expanding our influence in public policy. Rachel’s expertise makes her an invaluable asset in navigating the complexities of local and state politics to achieve our goals.”


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