15 Minutes With: Amy Berry of Take Care Tahoe


During this time when we are all facing new challenges brought by COVID-19, we feel it's important to shine a light on charities that are central to our communities now and in the future. We hope to inspire others to dream about travel that drives community impact and wellness for when the world travels again. 

We sat down with Amy Berry of Take Care Tahoe, to share the story behind what it's like to empower travelers to help maintain Tahoe's natural beauty for generations to come.

Lake Tahoe, situated in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, straddling the California-Nevada border, is one of my favorite destinations. It's a one-hour drive from Reno, Nevada, and two hours from Sacramento, California. The area boosts never-ending beauty, and the variety of outdoor activities in which one can participate throughout the year including hiking, skiing, standup paddleboard, kayaking, sailing and bicycling.

My first visit to Lake Tahoe was with some friends when we were a few years out of college. The drive east from San Francisco started with rolling hills then opened up to more mountainous and forested terrain, then dropping into the Tahoe basin where the lake sits at an elevation of 6,225 feet. On that trip we were fortunate enough to stay in a house right on the lake in South Lake Tahoe, California, and ski at Heavenly which has a gondola taking you from the center of town right to the top, just above 10,000 feet, for an amazing view of the lake.

Since that amazing visit I’ve made several trips back to Tahoe, including to ride in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, a 100-mile ride that takes you around the entire lake. The endless adventure, scenery and activities are why I keep coming back. Thanks to several dedicated groups, the Lake Tahoe region maintains its beautiful natural environment.

The endless adventure, scenery and activities are why I keep coming back.

Take Care Tahoe, founded by a group of 30 organizations around the Lake Tahoe region, came together to address the need for environmental stewardship and to get visitors and locals to take better care of the Tahoe environment. Its mission is: to connect more people to the beautiful Lake Tahoe environment to nurture a culture of sustainability.

On behalf of Kind Traveler, I spoke with Amy Berry, Executive Director of Tahoe Fund, one of Take Care Tahoe’s partner organizations. The Tahoe Fund was founded in 2010 by a diverse group of organizations - environmental, business, public and private in California and Nevada – coming together to engage in supporting environmental improvement projects.

Tell us about the mission of Take Care Tahoe:  

Take Care's mission: to connect more people to the beautiful Lake Tahoe environment to nurture a culture of sustainability. 

How did it get started and who are the founders?

Tahoe Fund was founded in 2010 by a group of leaders from a diverse collection of interests: environmental, business, public, private, and both States and all sides of the Lake. They saw a need to get the private community engaged in supporting environmental improvement projects. 

Take Care was founded by Tahoe Fund, TRPA, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, Tahoe Resource Conservation District and the League to Save Lake Tahoe. The groups came together to address a need for stewardship, to get folks to take better care of the Tahoe environment. 

What inspired the Take Care Tahoe campaign? You had mentioned that some LA comedians were involved in the concepts/copy for the animated videos. 

When the group got together, we knew we needed to do something dramatically different to solve issues we were seeing in Tahoe: dog poop on trails, litter on trails, bears being fed, campfires turning into wildfires, etc.

We decided one collaborative campaign for the region was necessary to get the messages out. We were lucky to hire an amazing creative team of Meg Seigal and Nate Laver who had recently done work on the anti-smoking "Truth" campaign. They created Take Care to poke fun of the mistakes we all make, with funny headlines written by stand-up comedians and catchy artwork created by Richard Perez. From their first headline "If it's your dog it's your doody" we knew we were on to something special.

The campaign has now expanded to more than 80 messages covering more than 10 topics. Signs are posted all over Tahoe with the consistent message. 

What is the goal of the Take Care Tahoe campaign?

Goal number one is to make people feel more connected to the Tahoe environment so they will take care of it. We do this through the fun Take Care campaign and the new website. The Website is critical to engaging more people in the various ways they can enjoy Tahoe's environment and learn more about it. The site features hundreds of events that focus on connecting people to Tahoe. From docent led hikes to bird watching to beach clean ups, there is a lot for everyone. 

How do you measure those goals?

We measure by adoption of the sign campaign, website visitors, and event participation.  

How do you get the message out to visitors to Lake Tahoe?

Through a partnership of over 50 public and private organizations, we are spreading the Take Care word. You will see signs at State Parks and the grocery store. 210 hotels have Take Care messaging in the rack cards or at check-in. 

What volunteer opportunities are available for visitors to Lake Tahoe?

We have so many available through the Take Care website. You can help build a trail. You can clean up a beach. You can replant trees.  

What inspired you to partner with Kind Traveler?

Kind Traveler is a perfect match with Take Care. Our whole goal is to drive sustainability with our residents and visitors. Kind Traveler gets that message out at the time of booking, even before they arrive. So, when visitors get here, they already have a sense of how important our environment is. 

Is there anything else that tourists to the Lake Tahoe area should know about Take Care Tahoe?

TakeCareTahoe.org is a wonderful resource for your trip. Explore it before you arrive and learn about activities and centers you can visit while here.  

 Explore exclusive hotel rates and perks offered from Kind Hotels in Lake Tahoe when you give a $10 nightly donation to Take Care Tahoe, or a charity of choice. 100% to charity. 

Mark is an avid cyclist, triathlete, hiker and kayaker and is a certified indoor cycling and TRX instructor. He has also been a participant and coach with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program. He counts Hawaii, Colorado and Switzerland as his favorite travel destinations, but is also happy discovering small towns and breweries along the east coast. Mark and his wife Danielle live in the walkable neighborhood of Del Ray in Alexandria, Virginia.