E-mail to Christopher Danch
Sunbow Ecology Center,
Ojai, CA

January 29, 1999

Dear Christopher:

Yes, I will be happy to comment on Chris Maser.

The conflict over the disposition of the Waterman Gap forest (owned by the San Lorenzo Valley Water District) had raged for years, polarizing the community of Boulder Creek and destroying friendships. Although the Waterman Gap advisory board members were in bitter conflict, after spending two days (in October 1997) with Chris Maser, the group reached a consensus and adopted a vision statement. The transformation was incredible. Not only did the board resolve its conflict, long-standing wounds were healed, and the group has since been able to work together constructively with shared goals and visions.

Since that time, I have conducted extensive research about environmental conflict resolution. After meeting with other mediators and witnessing other mediation sessions, I recognize the uniqueness of Chris Maser's approach--and, comparatively, how effective he is. Chris has facilitated more than 50 environmental conflict resolutions and has been successful in all of them. The process he uses does not solve a problem, it changes the way participants perceive and relate to each other, so people who were once combatants can work together in the future. Residents in Whitethorn, California, for example, have asked Chris to return to help them develop a sustainable vision for their community.

The world needs this approach to its conflicts. I am sure the other participants in the Waterman Gap facilitation will echo my deep admiration and respect for Chris Maser and the truly transformative work he does.

Sincerely,

Katherine Knight