November 24, 2023
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Conservation couple donates $165M to preserve Jalama Beach


A record donation of $165 million facilitated the purchase of 24,000 acres of coastal habitat at Jalama Beach for conservation.

The Nature Conservancy announced Dec. 22 that geo-mapping software entrepreneurs Jack and Laura Dangermond had made the largest donation in the organization’s history, enabling it to purchase the eight-mile tract of land near Point Conception in Santa Barbara County.

“This is an incredibly rare, ecologically important place with eight miles of coast and centuries-old coastal oak woodlands,” Jack Dangermond, president and co-founder Esri, said in a news release. “This deserves to be preserved and managed by an organization like The Nature Conservancy.”

To be renamed the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, the site contains two working cattle ranches and 39 species of threatened or protected wildlife, among other features of ecological and historical significance.

“There’s no place like it,” said Mike Sweeney, executive director of the conservancy’s California chapter. “It’s where Northern California and Southern California meet … This place is special for many reasons. We aim to build on that with a robust applied research agenda that delivers insights for conservationists around the world.”

That agenda begins with an 18-month assessment and planning process for the long-term management of the parcel, the organization said.

The couple said they hope the donation will prompt others to get involved.

“Conservation isn’t just being nice to animals or plants, it’s investing in the continued life support systems of humans and all other species on the planet. We need more people to step up to protect our last great places,” Dangermond said.

— Contact Marissa Nall at