ACR Founder & Emeritus Director L. Martin Griffin, MD

This is a proud legacy to leave for future generations—and one that we should protect vigilantly at all costs. For as the late conservationist Peter Behr would remind us, “Conservation victories can be temporary, while the losses are permanent.” The battle is never over.

~ L. Martin (Marty) Griffin, M.D., local conservationist, physician, public health advocate, ACR Founder and Emeritus Director

ACR Founder Marty Griffin wrote the above words in his book Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast, where he tells the dramatic story of local conservationists—including himself—whose passion and daring succeeded in defending wildlife habitats, defeating runaway growth and opening the door to a new environmental ethic…forever protecting wild landscapes and transforming the political landscape of Marin and Sonoma counties. Marty’s words and actions continue to inspire us every day.

Saving Wildlands in the North Bay and Beyond

A conservationist since the 1950s, Marty was instrumental in the creation of Audubon Canyon Ranch, prevention of a coastal freeway and aqueduct, and the preservation of sanctuaries on Bolinas Lagoon, Tomales Bay, Sonoma Creek and Point Reyes. Thanks to the efforts of Marty and like-minded conservationists, the coastline of Marin County was rescued from commercial development and held in permanent trust for the public.

Marty’s preservation work extended beyond the coastal wildlands. He was a co-founder of The Environmental Forum of Marin, established a wildlife preserve in Haleakala National Park, participated in wildlife work in Nepal and was elected a director of the Marin Municipal Water District. In 1990, Marty founded the Russian River Task Force, the Russian River Environmental Forum and Friends of the Russian River, which became Russian RiverKeeper.

A recent article by the National Park Service reminds us of the broad impact of his life work…at ACR and beyond.

A Dedicated Conservationist and Physician

Marty’s love of the outdoors started at a young age and grew as he did. Reading his letter to family after hiking the John Muir Trail in 1938 gives us insight into the young man who would later dedicate his life to protecting the landscapes he loves.

In addition to his career as a preservationist in the United States and abroad, Marty is a distinguished physician and public health innovator. He served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, helped establish the Ross Valley Clinic, Ross General Hospital, Kentfield Psychiatric Hospital and the Tamalpais Retirement Center. He served as the Chief of Medicine at Marin General and Ross hospitals and well as Public Health Officer at the Sonoma Development Center. Marty resides in Belvedere with his wife Joyce. He has four daughters.

In 1989, he was honored by the State of California for his esteemed career in public health.

Rebels with a Cause: Marty Griffin, Huey Johnson and others

The documentary Rebels with a Cause details the battles by local conservationists to stop planned development along the Marin County coastline.

“My friend Huey Johnson helped Audubon Canyon Ranch save the Point Reyes Peninsula when he handed over from ACR to the Marin Supervisors a gift deed to 87-acre Kent Island,” said Marty recently. “It became the first parcel of the new Marin Open Space District. Then in 1967 I had to raise $85,000 to pay for it!”

Saving the Marin Sonoma Coast: Available for Download

Visit Marty’s website to read more about his lifetime of accomplishments and download chapters of his book, Saving the Marin-Sonoma Coast.

Marty Griffin and ACR: A Video about an Unwavering Conservationist

Watch this inspiring mini-documentary about Marty’s quest to protect the landscape he loves—and inspire others to join him. Starting with the then-polluted Bolinas Lagoon, Marty tells the story of saving the lagoon, forming Audubon Canyon Ranch, and continuing his conservation battles up the coast to Tomales Bay.

Birthday Wishes For Marty Upon His 100th Birthday!

Dear Marty…

It’s hard to believe that you will be a centenarian. In addition to your passion for protecting natural environments, your enthusiasm and especially your energy is that of a much younger man. I became aware of your incredible work and efforts to preserve our area in a more rural, wild state shortly after I moved to Marin in 1980. Of course, after I read your book I was even more impressed by the extent of your work and the many landscapes and habitats that you helped to protect. We wish you more than Happy Birthday. We wish you continued good health to enjoy life and loved ones and to carry on your life’s work of protecting the natural environments we cherish and need now more than ever.
—David and Patty Wimpfheimer

On behalf of the wild places and wild creatures for whom you provided safe haven, and from all the grateful feet that are blessed to walk the lands you helped protect – the happiest of birthdays to you, Marty. Thank you for fueling the conservation fire!
—Julia Clothier

Marty, Congratulations! You have been—and are—an inspiration to me and so many others. Thank you and much love.
—Leslie Flint

Marty Griffin is my true hero. Not only a superb conservationist, but my mentor who taught me so much over the years at Audubon Canyon Ranch….It is almost unbelievable how as he nears 100, Marty’s heart and soul still burn bright for conservation and particularly for the wonderful Audubon Canyon Ranch, which he founded.
—George Peyton

Happy 100th Birthday, Marty!
—Steven Child

Happy Birthday, Marty. Rarely have I seen such universal acclaim for one person who has truly made the world a better place. What you have done is special, indeed.
—Don Child

Thanks for this opportunity to honor Marty and the organization I love.
—Patrick Woodworth

It’s an honor and a privilege to work for the organization that you helped found so many years ago, Marty. We all stand in gratitude to you! Happy 100th *wow* Birthday!
—Jen Newman

Happy 100, Marty! Thank you for your life-long dedication to nature’s most vulnerable populations.
—Wendy Coy

Happy Birthday, Marty! With deep thanks for making ACR happen! ACR brought light to my students and me during my teaching years and it has been the focal point of my retirement as I continue to help open students’ eyes to the outdoors. I am grateful
—Phoebe Tanner

You are an inspiration! Happy Birthday.
—Gail Ross (2014)

Happy birthday, Marty. We couldn’t have done any of what we are doing without you!
—Geoffrey Strawbridge

Congratulations on 100 years of a lifetime dedicated to conservation and developing a great team to carry your visions forward.
—Bryant and Diane Hichwa

Happy Birthday and THANK YOU!!
—Jack Helsper

A VERY HAPPY 100th birthday and many thanks for you all you have done for ACR and conservation.
—Harriet Kostic (MGP docent class 1977)

Happy birthday, Marty. Fond memories of ACR (what a unique and beautiful place) and Hop Kiln (where we helped move many cases of wine, via a human chain, in (maybe) 1984 and you rewarded each of us with a bottle of Marty’s Big Red). You are a true steward.
—Ross & Karen Jennings

Dear Marty, thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving the county, the country, and the world Audubon Canyon Ranch. I am so grateful that you saved this seashore from development.
—Donna Bley

Happy Birthday, Marty! Thank you for all you have done for nature and to secure it for generations to come! Much Love.
—The Carlsons: Bill, Joyce, Melissa and Alexandra

Happy 100, Marty! Here’s a $100 to match your 100 yrs, and here’s to a few more! Best wishes.
—Claire Hunter

Best wishes and many thanks for the work you did and keep doing!
—Susan Bierwirth Arbios & Bill (Otterson) Arbios

Dear Marty – thank you for all your contributions to our world! Happy Birthday!
—Barbara Coler, Councilmember (Former Mayor), Town of Fairfax, CA

Abundant thanks to you, Marty, for your steadfast and unwavering commitment to the natural world.
—Dianne Fruin

Marty is living proof that one man can make a difference. Our world is so much better thanks to your century of service. We are forever grateful.
—Martin Koughan

A life of service, education, and conservation — you built the memories, and we treasure them!
—Stephen Brown

Marty, being associated with ACR for the past 30 years is a cherished part of my life. Thank you for creating an organization that has nurtured the land, the visitors, and the ACR volunteers.
—Janet Bruno & David Morell

With all best wishes for your 100th birthday.
—Janet Bruno

—John & Susie Jennings

Happy 100th Birthday L. Martin Griffin, what an achievement in so many ways. All the Best.
—Nancy Abreu

Dear Dr. G., Obviously, being a conservationist, naturalist, & outdoors man agrees with you & has led to this milestone event! You are an inspiration to all of us who aim to follow in your footsteps! May you have many more exciting trips around the sun!
—Jeni Jackson & Sheldon Bachus

Happy 100th, Marty! Thanks for doing so much over so many years to save our precious natural lands, and to teach and inspire multiple generations of conservationists!
—Francis & Leigh Toldi

Happy Birthday, Marty. Fond memories of ACR (what a unique and beautiful place) and Hop Kiln (where we helped move many cases of wine, via a human chain, in (maybe) 1984 and you rewarded each of us with a bottle of Marty’s Big Red). You are a true steward.
—Ross & Karen Jennings

Happy 100th Birthday, Marty!
—Janice Abreu

Happy Birthday Marty! It hasn’t been long since I first met you but you’ve been an inspiration ever since! My family and I loved reading about your early adventures in the John Muir wilderness!! I wish we could celebrate in person but hope to soon!
—Christine & Stephen Bent

A Very Happy Birthday, Marty – Ann Cassidy Docent Class of 1975 (I think)
—Ann Cassidy

ACR/MGP has brought such joy to all those school children—and the docents who led them up hill and down dale. Thank you Marty, and Happy Birthday
—Joan & Fred Collignon

Congrats on the century mark, Marty! Thank you for your tenacity and foresight to save the rookery and create ACR. Still Fighting the Good Fight for the Sonoma Coast. Still Inspired by You!
—Norma Jellison, Bodega Bay

I remember Marty talking to our training class (’94, maybe) about his efforts to stop development of West Marin and save the natural coast. Bless Him!
—Claire Perricelli (Eureka CA)

Thank you for all your fine work. Sincerely, The Environment…
—& Ellen Shehadeh

To Marty, in honor of a life well lived and your positive impact on Marin County for years past and years to come. Happy 100th Birthday!
—Lisa Teot

My love and appreciation of Nature blossomed when I became a Ranch Guide in 2012 and being involved with ACR has made a significant difference in my life. I am indebted to you for all your contributions! Happy Birthday!
—Love from Ellen Thomas

Marty, you are among the very best people on earth!
—Larry Thompson

You deserve more; here is a second gift.
—Larry Thompson

Thank you, Marty, for making Audubon Canyon Ranch possible. What a glorious legacy! Love and blessings on your 100th birthday!
—Penny Wright

Happy birthday to a most exceptional man. Thank you for fighting to save our beautiful Marin County coast.
—Sharon Enright

Happy 100th Birthday, Marty! Wow, such a milestone! Congrats! My family is deeply indebted to you for preserving this area, as it is our family’s homestead built by my 2nd great grandfather Samuel P. Weeks (at Martin Griffin Preserve).
—Jane Marie Kriss

We are so appreciative of your commitment to conservation, to education and to the places and people we love!
—Lydia Mendoza & Henry Little

Happy Marty Day! I still have and prize your book you autographed during my docent training 20 years ago. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do
—Robert & Joy Parker

Thanks for your dedicated history in preserving the preserve, and introducing me to that world! Your efforts have made a world of difference for so many, throughout the years.
—Martha Salzman & Jay Aleck

Our very best wishes for a memorable 100th birthday.
—With love, Eugenia and Peter Caldwell

Happy Birthday, Marty!
—Michael Fitzpatrick

Happy Birthday, Marty! Just look what you have created. Our planet thanks you.
—Marie Fox

Happy Birthday, Marty! You are an inspiration to us!
—Don & Patty Neubacher

Marty, you’re always an inspiration. This past century was lucky to have you. We love you.
—Jeff Kimball & Pam Hogan

We appreciate all you have done to help make Marin a better place to live in. Warmest good wishes on your 100th birthday.
—Steve & Britt Thal

Happy Centenary From Sausal Creek in Oakland, your old stomping grounds, Marty!!
—Mark Rauzon

Happy 100th Birthday, Marty, and thank you for all you have done. We love you!
—Dave & Maria Scott

You have done more for the environment and Sonoma County ecology (and beyond) than you can ever imagine! You are my hero and inspiration. With much love and thanks.
—Page Leonard

Happy Birthday, Marty! I am so grateful of the great work you did to help preserve the beauty of West Marin. Thank you thank you!
—Cathy Willis

Happy birthday to a truly inspiring person!
—Marianna Riser

A very Happy 100th birthday to the “other Marty” (from “Mardi”)! I’ve always been honored to share the “same” name with such a famous person! THANK YOU for all you have done for nature and keep up that twinkle in your eye & sense of fun!
—Lamar ‘Mardi’ Leland

Thank you for years of inspiration to those who strive to preserve beautiful natural environments of California.
—Joan Murray

Dear Marty, wishing you our fantastic, sweet, amazing and only centenarian friend and neighbor the very happiest of birthdays on your 100th birthday! You are a true inspiration and we love you very much!!!
—Helen, Dave, Nellie, Noah & Albert XO – The Werngrens

Thank you for this wonderful legacy.
—Michelle Hirsch

Hearty congratulations, Dr. Griffin! The work you’ve done & the victories you’ve won in conservation’s cause are way beyond extraordinary. We’d be proud to accomplish 100th with as much in our lives as you have. Cheers!!
—Melanie Ito & Charles Wilkinson

We decided that the donation we made yesterday in honor of Dr. Marty Griffin was not adequate, so we added to it. Thank you, Dr. Griffin. Cheers!
—Melanie Ito & Charles Wilkinson

May you continue to enjoy toasted almond ice cream for many more birthday celebrations! We love you, your spirit, enthusiasm and zest for life. I’m grateful to Elizabeth Terwilliger for introducing us many years ago. Gratitude & love.
—Joanie & Don Bekins

Marty, Happy 100th! You are an inspiration to all of us!!! Warmest regards.
—Nancy DeStefanis, Director, SF Nature Education

Happy Birthday, Marty. Thank you for your vision and determination as you devoted so much of yourself to protecting lands for all to enjoy.
—Mary Fitzpatrick

In honor of Magical Marty
—Jennifer Mann

I am so proud of you, Dad! Happy Birthday! You have been a best friend of mine for 72 years now. Thank you for your never ending love.
—Your daughter, Anne

Happy Birthday, Marty!
—Love, Lois and Hi Patton

Happy Birthday, Marty! You have been a rock star to me for years. Your inspirational life and work has has made life so meaningful for us all. The world would be a much sadder place were it not for you! I thank you and am forever grateful.
—Barbara Wechsberg

Happy 100, Marty! You are truly an inspiration. My 11-year-old son loves to surf Bolinas and I am grateful for the work you have done to protect the area. It is so very beautiful. I hope you have the happiest of birthdays.
—Kasey Fahey

Marty, On behalf of Phil Frank and myself, we want to thank you for saving the best of West Marin as a native habitat for all to enjoy and to congratulate you on 100 glorious years!
—Susan & Phil Frank

Gordon and Eileen Libby wishing you well and cherishing all we’ve shared.
—Gordon and Eileen Libby

Happy Birthday, Marty!
—Maureen Lynch

Thank you for helping to keep Marin beautiful. In a world growing without restriction, your investment in our natural habitat will increasingly reward future generations.
—Aaron Roller

I just learned about you for the first time in the Marin IJ and was inspired to donate. I love West Marin, thank you for all you did to preserve it for my generation and my children’s. You’ve helped each and every one of us live healthier & happier lives!
—Wendy Rosen

Thank you, Marty. I moved to Marin in 1963 and will never forget my first visit to the Audubon Ranch.
—Betty Toole

Thank you for your great effort to preserve the land. —Lucus (age 11) Thank you for helping the animals have a beautiful home. —Millicent (age 7) We are so thankful for your hard work to preserve the land we love to visit and call our home. —Samantha (age 9)

Congratulations on a major life event and milestone, Marty! Your life’s work is inspiring to all of us.
—Charles Miller

With good memories of egrets on a field trip, reading your book during EFM training and now working for ACR…thank you for working to protect a place my family and I love so much. Happy Birthday to you!
—Erika, Greg, Charlie & Ana Reis-Obedzinski

I grew up in Marin, read Marty’s book 20 years ago, and now I am a full time environmentalist. I, and we, all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Marty. Thank you!
—Mike Sandler

Happy 100, Marty! Thanks for saving the beauty of Bolinas Lagoon for us and generations to come.
—Wendy & Dave Horning, Stinson Beach

Happy birthday to our (Great) Grandpa Marty! We love you dearly and are so thankful for instilling in us a love of the outdoors!
—Erika, Rob, Freddie and Penny

Marty, congratulations on a century of life. Amazing! I am honored to know you and so grateful for you and all your compadres who didn’t give up. You give me faith that we can and should continue to fight for what is right, no matter how long it takes.
—Naomi Sultana Young

Happy Birthday, Marty!!! We are toasting you from the beautiful state of Georgia. Thank you for all your amazing contributions. Zumie always sang your praises and, as you know, everyone always listened intently when Zumie spoke. 🙂
—Georgia & Jon Zumwalt

So grateful for all the conservation work you have done! I hope some birds flew by to celebrate your special day wherever you spent it. Best Wishes.
—Wendy Dreskin