Sheryl Crow and other stars align at Wilderness Society's gala event

Sheryl Crow performs at The Wilderness Society's gala in San Francisco.

Drew Altizer Photography

A huge thank you to Sheryl Crow, Cheryl Strayed and Laura Dern for making The Wilderness Society’s We Are The Wild Gala a night to remember.

More than 250 wilderness supporters gathered in San Francisco's Bently Reserve for "We Are The Wild: A Night Celebrating 50 Years of Wilderness" on Oct. 16.

This celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act turned out to be a beautiful evening spent honoring the act and all it has done to preserve our treasured wild places.

To help us celebrate the anniversary, singer Sheryl Crow offered a stunning live performance, and actress Laura Dern was on hand to help us honor bestselling author Cheryl Strayed.

Photo: Wild author Cheryl Strayed and actress Laura Dern

Laura Dern presents the We Are The Wild Inspiration Award to Cheryl Strayed at The Wilderness Society Gala, a night celebrating 50 years of wilderness. Photo by Drew Altizer.


Strayed, author of the bestselling memoir Wild, received The Wilderness Society's We Are the Wild Inspiration Award. The award recognizes a person who embodies the spirit of wilderness and its transformative power.  We admire her influential role in inspiring more Americans to care for our wild places.

There are few stories that embody the life-changing power of wilderness quite like Cheryl Strayed’s experience confronting a destructive path her life had taken by embarking on a solo trek across 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Her story inspired producer and actress Reese Witherspoon to bring Wild to the big screen, where Witherspoon plays Strayed.

Academy Award nominee Laura Dern plays Cheryl Strayed’s mother in the upcoming film that debuts nationwide in December.

We were honored to have Dern, who is also an Emmy Award nominee and the winner of multiple Golden Globe Awards, at the gala to present the award to Strayed.

“It was an honor for me to portray Cheryl’s mother in the film and to be part of this powerful story of self-discovery and redemption,” Dern said.  “So I’m delighted to present the We Are the Wild Inspiration Award to her.  I can’t think of a more fitting award for Cheryl Strayed.”

Gala attendees also got a glimpse at the history of the Wilderness Act and a look at what needs to be done in the next 50 years to continue the legacy of wilderness protection in America with this video:

Video: Celebrating 50 Years of America’s Wilderness

We want to thank our gala host committee for their terrific leadership in putting this spectacular event together, our many sponsors, all of those who attended the event and our members and supporters.  Your outstanding support is advancing the protection of America’s wildest places.

We raised nearly $1.2 million for our most pressing needs – connecting large, wild landscapes, guiding energy development and inspiring the next generation of conservation stewards.


Gallery: See photos from the gala below

Actress Laura Dern with Wild author Cheryl Strayed and Gala Host Committee/President's Council member Greg Avis and Charlie Avis. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


 Wilderness Society Governing Council Chairman Doug Walker, author Cheryl Strayed, Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams and actress Laura Dern. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Wilderness Society Governing Council and Gala Host Committee member Tom Barron (left) with Governing Council member Bill Cronon. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams and Tom Steyer. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Governing Council member Becky Rom, Jim and Gretchen Sandler and Governing Council Vice Chair Molly McUsic. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Elisa Berry, Gala Host Committee member Judy O'Brien and Denise Amanten. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Wilderness Society President Jamie Williams and Governing Council member and Presenting Sponsor David Bonderman. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Governing Council and Gala Host Committee member Kim Elliman and Dan Cohn. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Gala Host Committee member Maxine Mantell and Governing Council member and Gala Host Committee member Michael Mantell. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Seth and Angie Taube. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Host Committee member Will Price, Tod Francis and Bonnie Matlock. Photo: Drew Altizer Photography.


Governing Council members Bill Cronon, Brenda Davis and Kim Elliman. Photo:


Mary Lou Hughes, Heidi Bumpers, Governing Council member Bill Bumpers, Linn Bumpers, Frankie and Bill Chapman. Photo:


Governing Council member Marcia Kunstel and Joe Albright. Photo:


Governing Council member Will Coleman and Kristin Krieger. Photo:


Gala Host Committee and President's Council members Paul Gelburd and Diane Parish. Photo:


Gala Host Committee member Jaimie Field and Gala Host Committee/Governing Council member David Field. Photo:


Brooks Barron and Mike McClure. Photo:


Akash Pradham, Catherine Start, Josh Schultz and Sivanne Korakin. Photo:


PRESENTING SPONSORS: David Bonderman and Jennifer Speers


STEWARD: Doug & Maggie Walker

RANGER: Greg & Anne Avis; Penny S. & James G. Coulter; Jaimie & David Field; Hampton & Kevin Luzak; Brad & Judy O’Brien; David & Barbara Churchill; Marcia Kunstel & Joe Albright; High Meadows Foundation

MOUNTAINEER: Anonymous; Allan & Marilyn Brown; Heidi & Bill Bumpers; Dan Cohn & Lynn Brinton; Brenda & Swep Davis; Christopher (Kim) Elliman; Chris & Margot Enbom; Ben & Ruth Hammett; Mammoth Mountain Ski Area; Michael & Maxine Mantell; Diane Parish & Paul Gelburd; Carl & Jan Siechert; Wide Orbit

HIKER: ABD Direct; ClifBar; Peridot Events; Marsha Zelus


SUPPORTER: J.T. Crandall; Elliot Evers; Integral; MMI Direct; Dave and Jeanne Matthews; Key Acquisition Partners