Meet Gillian Calof, Operations Director

October 30, 2012

1. What drives your environmental work and activism?

Growing up on a farm in rural Canada I was surrounded by the natural environment and countless species of birds and other wildlife. My family has always been active in our community volunteering for many different organizations so a career in nonprofit environmental work was a natural fit for me.

2. What was one of your most exciting and rewarding achievements?

Completing my Masters degree in Nonprofit Administration was a very rewarding achievement, but nothing compares to the enriching experience of having two healthy and happy boys.

3. Who is your hero (or someone you admire greatly)?

I greatly admire Margot Feuer, one of the three inspiring women who fought for the preservation of the Santa Monica Mountains. She campaigned and lobbied Congress to protect the mountains and open space in the Los Angeles area.

4. What are your favorite and frequently visited websites?

The Daily Grail – it’s an alternative source for news that highlights thought-provoking articles in the area of science, history and science fiction. I also visit as I am a huge baseball fan!

5. What was your most recent “That oughta be a law!” thought?

My most recent “That oughta be a law” thought was more a, “I wish they’d enforce the law” moment. Gas powered leaf blowers are banned in Los Angeles but their use is widespread. The dust and other airborne particles they spread are detrimental to our health.

6. What is a tip you’d like to share for leading a more sustainable life?

Plan your meals in advance so that you shop with focus and waste less food.

7. Can you share a personal story that ties in with one of the Reserve’s protocol sectors?

I once had an internship with a company that surveyed electricity usage at hog and dairy farms in Ontario, Canada. I visited over 30 farms that summer and became intimately familiar with their operation and challenges. I also met some of the nicest, friendliest people.

8. If you could spend one week in a natural area in the U.S., where would it be?

I’d hike and camp in the Desolations Wilderness in the South Lake Tahoe area. It has some of the most beautiful alpine lakes, waterfalls and scenery!

9. What is an environmental book that you think should be required reading in schools?

I like the idea of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson being read in schools. It marks an age of awareness and of the human potential to damage our natural environment.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is a BBQ shared with our neighbors.

11. What is something about you that your professional peers would be surprised to learn?

For our first dance at our wedding my husband and I recreated the 1984 Saturday Night Live ‘Men’s Synchronized Swimming’ sketch. Yes, we had our first dance in a pool.



  • R.Lee says:

    Aw, this makes me wish I was your neighbor!

  • H.Raven says:

    I forgot about leaf blowers! I also agree that they should be banned everywhere but also enforced (I still see them around LA all the time). Unnecessary pollution when people could just pick up a broom.

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