If you’re one of the many North County residents who moved here for all the open green space, you have people like Jan Fuchs to thank. This Carmel Valley resident has volunteered more than 20 years as an advocate for nature preservation in this area.
“Protecting our green spaces is good for us, and good for San Diego,” she said. “People come here because of the natural beauty, so it’s bad business to develop it. Being surrounded by such beauty also adds a lot to our quality of life — we can find relief from daily stress out in nature. We’ve been lucky enough to inherit all of this, and we should take care of it.”
Fuchs is the current co-chair of the Carmel Valley Planning Board’s land use committee, and she is the chair for the San Dieguito River Park’s land use committee. She was the chair of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board for two terms. She also serves on Sierra Club’s political committee.
Fuchs, who has lived in Carmel Valley since 1985, earned a graduate degree in journalism and foreign studies from the University of Maryland, and a graduate degree in communications, business, and psychology from the University of Portland.
- What brought you to this neighborhood?
In 1985 Carmel Valley had only a few homes built when we started anew in California. Being part of a new community appealed to me. The City Council had laid out specific development policies as the community built out so there was the assurance of a balanced community with built-in restraints on landowners and developers. The natural terrain within and surrounding us here was a huge surprise; we thought all of California had been bulldozed!
- What makes this town special to you?
I've been active in its development and community spirit-building. Having your imprint on a community's successes gives you a grounding and a sense of belonging. Residents and businesses here have fought constantly to preserve the balance of development with open space preservation and recreation we were assured by our community plan and, I believe, these shared experiences are a major factor in what makes what others call "the mystique" of Carmel Valley.
- If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract, or improve in the area?
I would snap my finger and have all the abuses we've made to the earth cleaned up: rivers and oceans clean again; farmland robust and replenished; air scrubbed clean; natural landscapes brought back to co-exist with development; wildlife now extinct brought back; nature and civilization in balance. A close second is to do away with global terrorism.
- Who or what inspires you?
The beauty of our natural surroundings and their wildlife, waterways, and plant life — and my goal to have our grandchildren and their grandchildren hike through valleys or stand on mesas and say, "Thanks, Grandma, for caring enough to fight for this."
- If you hosted a dinner party for 8, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
The enigmatic Albert Einstein; John Muir; ballerina Maria Tallchief; Jesus Christ; Will Rogers; my husband, Bob; and my two grandchildren, Andrew and Elena.
- Tell us about what you are currently reading?
I’m reading a contemporary police thriller and a book about good guys (U.S. Navy Seals, private security firms, etc.) fighting global terrorism.
- What is your most prized possession?
My wedding and engagement rings. My home and gardens next.
- What do you do for fun?
I enjoy hanging out and vacationing with my children and grandchildren; playing tennis; swimming in the Caribbean; entertaining; attempting gourmet cuisine while also cooking southern "soul" food.
- Please describe your greatest accomplishment.
Raising two beautiful, smart, savvy, healthy, and successful children who have integrity and helping to do the same with their children.
- What is your motto or philosophy of life?
Leave the world a better place in whatever area you choose than when you arrived ... in my case the choice is bettering human relationships and preserving and restoring our natural areas.