Ray Belknap grew graduated from UC Berkeley in 1964 with a degree in Landscape Architecture. He later received a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design where he was awarded the Charles Elliot traveling fellowship. This fellowship allowed him to travel throughout western Europe for almost a year. It was during this exposure to the rural landscape of Europe that Ray first engaged in his lifelong study of housing design in the scenic rural landscape.
Other experience in his varied career include research with The Conservation Foundation in Washington D.C. where he published with John Furtado, Three Approaches to Environmental Resource Analysis'. This publication compared the work of Angus Hills, (Father of the Canadian Landscape Inventory System) with Phil Lewis, and Ian McHarg. The publication remained on the Foundations list of current publications for 21 years.
He was a design Principal with Sasaki Walker Associates in San Francisco but his interest in conservation and public policy resulted in a publication funded by the National Endowment of the Arts called "How to Find, Read and Evaluate Environmental and Land Use Regulations".
This work lead him to an appointment in 1970 with California's Governor's Office of Planning and Research (OPR) for then Governor Ronald Reagan. His job was to review and advise on environmental legislation and the Resource Agency on implementing the recently adopted California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). He also managed preparation of the first Environmental Goals and Policy Report - a statement of the Governor's environmental goals for the coming term in office.
Returning to his "land based" environmental interest Ray found a way to integrate his interest in conservation with his experience with landowners and public policy. He took the job of Executive Director of the Land Conservancy in 1990.
His programs with the Conservancy always emphasized the importance of community participation. As part of the community, it has always been his conviction that successful conservation is ultimately a human endeavor. Without the support and participation of our local citizens, the best designed conservation project will fail.
Ray retired from the Land Conservancy in 2006.
He now has the time to pursue his life-long interest in protecting the scenic rural landscape.