A legacy of land | February 15, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - February 15, 2019

A legacy of land

After decades spent saving open space, conservationist Nonette Hanko retires

by Sue Dremann

Eighty-seven-year-old Nonette Hanko stepped out of a Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District SUV last week into a blisteringly cold wind, under boiling clouds that threatened a storm at Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. Perched behind her walker, the pioneer of open-space preservation took in breathtaking views of the picturesque mountains and valleys.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.


22 people like this
Posted by Yoriko
a resident of University South
on Feb 15, 2019 at 11:15 am

Yoriko is a registered user.

Nonette Hanko is one of a handful of people who shaped what Silicon Valley and our mid-peninsula into what it is a today: an impossible combination of technology companies and busy towns surrounded by vast hills of open space for the public to quietly enjoy. She's been my inspiration for many years, and should be, that one person, even the quietest one, can make a difference in the world. Thank you Nonette!

18 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

Novelera is a registered user.

Thank you, Sue, for this wonderful article about a true Bay Area heroine! I well remember the Open Space campaign and its success.

8 people like this
Posted by Gimmee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 15, 2019 at 11:37 am

Nice attempt at glossing over her shameful treatment of the cloistered nuns.
No mention of the way the torch wwzdd passed to human?
What does she think of her successor building a $50 million palace to replace the current location ( and the lack of communication with the public about it' can you imagine if the council did that? )

21 people like this
Posted by Jay Thorwaldson
a resident of another community
on Feb 15, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Thank you, Sue, for a great and comprehensive article, and for quoting me accurately and spelling my name right. As I pointed out at a celebration of the district's 15th anniversary, Palo Alto Times Editor Alexander Bodi (who was there) deserves credit for being the true father of the district when he said to me, "Draft me an editorial" after I told him about the defense I gave to Nonette. The defense was about zoning being both a weak and unfair way to preserve open space, plus citing the 1933 "depth of the Depression" effort to create the East Bay Regional Park District.

For me, there are (at least) three takeaway messages from this story: (1) that a knowledge of history is important in mapping future choices, as in the East Bay effort; (2) that the press has a vital role to play in terms of presenting information and ideas that can generate the all-important responses from individuals; and (3) that, as Margaret Mead once observed, one person working with others can make a huge difference -- in this case a 63,000+ acre difference for many generations to come.

5 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I went to a committee meeting the other day, inspired in part by the election of Karen Holman and, I admit, by the press coverage of the office space procurement (I walked both sites, as my dog sniffed the baseboards for signs of corruption).

I rose during open forum to remember schoolmates who are memorialized up on the trails: 1, Victor R. Zenoff, a Terman and Gunn student who died in Yosemite at age 18; 2, David Daniels, who went to Cubberley and then Gunn and was part of the Palo Alto Oaxaca exchange and played soccer at Stanford, who died mysteriously in the New York Subways. There is a bench for Vic on Windy Hill and the interpretive center (seasonal) is named by the Daniels.

The hills keep a record of their deeds.

Like this comment
Posted by Jim A
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 15, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Not a word about the office building fiasco on Palo Alto Online.

11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2019 at 3:50 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Nonette (and Jay, and ... all of you many contributors out there). What a tremendous difference it has made for all of us.

15 people like this
Posted by Thank you, Nonette, and...
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm

Thank you, Nonette, and... is a registered user.

Thank you, Nonette...and past and present Open Space Board Members, and the many, many volunteers who over many years made this miracle of preservation happen. Blessings on you all! You have given us all a great gift.

One quiet woman stood up and led. Many others helped her. This is how we get things good things done.

10 people like this
Posted by Terry Nagel
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2019 at 7:54 am

Thank you, Nonette, for this lasting legacy. You have truly made a difference.

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