In 2002, Steve Costa and Kate Levinson took on the ownership of Point Reyes Books in Point Reyes Station, California. For 14 years, they stewarded the book store, providing an independent book store presence in the area, but also using the store as a hub for growing community collaboration. They wove Point Reyes Books into the fabric of everyday life in West Marin County—making connections between people, supporting local nonprofit organizations, being part of the downtown business network, and nurturing new ideas, publications, and gatherings—including the Geography of Hope conference.

In January 2017,  they left the bookstore in the capable hands of Stephen Sparks and Molly Parent. Steve and Kate left behind the world of independent book selling, but brought with them the continued desire and momentum for creating the community-building workshops, events, and gatherings that had always been so important to them. Since 2017, these efforts—now known as the non-profit organization Black Mountain Circle—continue to hold the mantle of the Geography of Hope conference, as well as cultivating resilience, community, and earth stewardship through a growing program of inspiring events and insightful conversations that are designed to help reclaim our personal and collective stories about nature and spirit.

Black Mountain Circle Staff

Steve Costa

Steve is the co-executive director and a co-founder of Black Mountain Circle. He guides and creates new programs and events, and is the founder of the Geography of Hope and West Marin Review, two of BMC’s first programs. Steve has 45 years experience in community organizing including as a Vista volunteer, an aide to Congressman Pete Stark, a program director for the Trust for Public Land, and executive director of the City of Oakland’s strategic planning office. He was a co-owner of Point Reyes Books for 14 years. Steve is currently involved in many West Marin projects.

Kamala Tully

Kamala is the co-director of Black Mountain Circle. She brings more than 20 years experience in events, marketing, program development, and partnerships in the fields of integrative healthcare and online/print publishing to her work at Black Mountain Circle. She previously worked at the Institute for Health & Healing/Sutter Health,, ThriveOnline, and Nolo Press. Kamala consults with Bay Area arts nonprofits including Mesa Refuge and Syzygy Dance Project. The coastal town of Bolinas is her favorite place in West Marin.

Kyra Epstein

Kyra is the communications manager for Black Mountain Circle. She has more than 25 years of expertise in helping organizations tell their stories. Kyra provides communications consulting for non-profit and government organizations, with clients including Commonweal, Mesa Refuge, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Healthy Buildings, LLC.  As an environmental journalist, she has published more than 200 articles for newspapers, journals and magazines. Kyra is an herbalist and plant lover.

Ruby Fisher-Smith

Ruby supports Black Mountain Circle’s young adult and spiritual ecology programs. She is an educator, wilderness guide, organizer, and local to West Marin. Growing up on Coastal Miwok land and waters embedded in her a feeling of interconnectedness and reverence for the more-than-human world. Ruby has experience guiding youth rite of passage trips, advocating for housing and environmental justice, and working within food systems.

Board of Directors

Kailea Frederick

Kailea Frederick is a mother and First Nations woman dedicated to supporting individuals of all cultures in remembering their ties to the earth. Growing up off the grid in Maui, Hawai`i, forever imprinted in her the importance of reciprocity through indigenous world view. She feels raised by wild spaces and intimately tied to Honua, our island earth. She has served as a youth delegate twice to the United Nations Climate Change conferences, and her project, Earth Is `Ohana, seeks to serve as a personal dedication to the many stories that have and continue to shape her.

Alison Wright

Alison works in philanthropy, consulting with organizations defending natural resource rights, protecting environmental activists, and amplifying community and indigenous voices for global environmental justice. Alison is a co-founder of The Cairn Project. She grew up exploring the trails and beaches of Point Reyes National Seashore.

Eleanore Despina

Eleanore is the chair of the Black Mountain Circle Board of Directors. She practiced law for 35 years in the areas of retirement and estate planning, and nonprofits. She’s investing her retirement years in studying and making functional ceramics, and in helping to build a resilient community in Point Reyes Station, California, where she lives with her husband, Bing Gong.

James Stark

James serves on the Black Mountain Circle Board of Directors. He is the co-director of the Regenerative Design Institute at Commonweal (RDI) where he co-founded both the Ecology of Leadership and Ecology of Awakening programs. For decades, James dedicated himself to community visioning and organizing in Marin and co-founded several organizations including West Marin Growers Group, Waste Free Now, KWMR “Watershed Radio,” and Community Land Association of Marin.

Kate Levinson

Kate is a co-founder of Black Mountain Circle and serves as treasurer on the Board of Directors. She produces events, retreats, and conferences, in addition to her own workshops and website on women and money.  Kate holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Point Reyes Station, California. Her book,  Emotional Currency: A Women’s Guide to Building a Healthy Relationship with Money, was published by Ten Speed Press/Random House. Kate was a co-owner of Point Reyes Books for 14 years. She is currently on the advisory board of Mesa Refuge.