As 2017 comes to a close, it’s that time again for the “best of” lists to come out. Best movies of the year, best music, etc. So here is my own “best of” list for the past year.
- Our diverse education grants recipients. Every year I have the opportunity to visit and connect with many of our education grantees, and I am thoroughly inspired by the work they do. We support programs where students have a semester-long unit on redwood forests concluding with a field trip to experience their beauty first-hand. We have projects which emphasize stewardship and restoration and others which concentrate on teambuilding and leadership skills, all using the redwood forest as their inspiration. Since not every student learns and is engaged in the same way, it is important to have diverse education programs, so every student feels connected to our forests.
- Partnerships. Collaboration, working together, building community — these are all things we value here at the League and what I love about my job. I work with local, state and federal redwood parks to strengthen environmental education and science throughout the redwood range. My work with teachers and non-profit organizations brings redwood education into the classroom and further promotes the need to get students into nature. We brainstorm together, share ideas, and get inspired by new opportunities to work together.
- Education Programs. Nothing beats standing in front of a group of students in the redwoods and welcoming them to the forest. For some, it is the first time they have visited these trees, which are in their own backyards. Our Explore Your Watershed Program and Redwoods and Climate Change Program continue to expand, providing thousands of students an opportunity to do art, science and have fun in a local redwood forest.
- The Redwoods. Although I grew up in the Bay Area and visited Redwood Regional Park all the time, walking among the giants at Humboldt Redwoods and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Parks still takes my breath away. I have been fortunate to visit many new redwood parks during my years here at the League, but there are still many more on my list. Hopefully soon, I will be able to check off every redwood park and preserve as being visited. Every redwood forest feels slightly different, gives me new inspiration and reaffirms the work I do.
And last but not least, I have had the amazing opportunity to introduce my new daughter to the redwoods on many hikes. Granted she has slept through most of them, but soon enough she will be gazing up at their canopies and playing in their needles.
I have no doubt 2018 will include an even longer “best of” list!
Please let us know your “best of” moments in the redwood forests and leave a comment below.