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This is a place for personal insights into our work by Save the Redwoods League leaders. You can explore posts by category: It Takes a Forest℠ focuses on League project and program updates; Off the Beaten Path gets you into the redwood forest; Redwoods Futures illuminates the issues affecting our redwood forests; and The Eighth Wonders explores the art, education, and science of the redwood forests. Please join the conversation by posting your stories and comments.


Photo by Michael Yang, SFSU Student Perspectives blogger

Student Perspectives: Are You Busy? Slow Down by Keeping up with Muir

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Life can be hectic. You have school, work, and responsibilities to take care of. Add a busy city with thousands of people and your life is even more chaotic. A typical day in your life probably starts off with missing the bus because it’s overcrowded. You are then tossed into the big city dealing with a hectic work environment. You come back home to do homework, cook dinner, raise kids, do laundry, or other chores. Here is how Muir Woods can help you slow down while keeping you immersed in the city vibe.

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Fresh Air music video by Sergio Herrera and Jose Hernandez

Redwood Education Grants Program

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One of our grantees, the Humboldt County Office of Education, worked with students this year, from Fortuna High School’s videography class to create “art” in the redwoods after learning about redwood ecology.

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Crescent Meadow, Sequoia National Park. Photo Ming-yen Hsu at Flickr Creative Commons

Nighttime Magic and Fall Forest Festivities

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Now that the sun is setting earlier, it’s great time to experience the sights and sounds of the redwood forest after dark. Not a night owl? Celebrate fall with a birdwatching walk or a trip to an autumn festival. Here’s a sample of fall fun throughout the redwood regions.

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Roosevelt elk on the Orick Mill site.

A Lesson in Ecology from the Roosevelt Elk

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The Orick Mill Site, a 125-acre property in the Prairie Creek Scenic Corridor, was a top priority for acquisition by the League for a long time. It’s not hard to see why: the property is nestled between the most iconic redwood groves in the world — the groves of Redwood National and State Parks. But land acquisitions — and the resulting changes in land management — are complicated affairs, especially if you happen to be a herd of Roosevelt elk.

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Field crew sampling young and old sequoias in a Bearskin Grove canopy gap. Photo by Marc D. Meyer

Questions Remain for Giant Sequoia National Monument

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National Public Lands Day on September 30 celebrates our nation’s cultural and natural resources that are open to everyone, but the work to defend our national monuments continues. This year, along with celebrating our public lands, unfortunately, comes trepidation, as we face the threat of eroded protections at a scale never seen before in U.S. history.

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Sequoia National Park.

New Initiative to Sequence the Redwood Genomes

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We are sequencing the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes. While the first steps in this project will happen in the laboratory, the goal is to rapidly put this new understanding of redwood DNA to work for conservation. To support vigorous coast redwood and giant sequoia forests in the decades ahead, we will need to protect not only the remarkable structure of the forest, but also protect the genetic diversity that underlies it.

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Fern Watch volunteers at Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve.

Watching Ferns in the Redwoods for Signs of Climate Change

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The sword fern, one of the most common redwood forest plants, has become prominent in my life over the past few years. This is mostly due to the League’s Fern Watch project, which monitors the health of sword ferns throughout the redwood range. Even though these ferns are common, little is known about their ecology and how they respond to climatic change.

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Pleasant Surprises at Portola Redwoods State Park

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Whenever we decide to go hiking, we always do research to find out a bit about the park first. Just little things such as location, how long it will take us to get there, accessibility, and, of course, what the weather will be like. In doing so, we will often come across interesting facts such as trees of some notoriety, but our number one criterion is the variety of trails because it does no good to go to a park if there are no trails suitable for me to hike. For these reasons, Portola Redwoods State Park fit our criteria.

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An endangered California condor keeps protective watch over its chick in a nesting cave. Photo: John Brandt/USFWS

Condor Chick Signals Hope for the Future

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This summer proved to be momentous for the recovery of the California condor. Joe Burnett and Amy List, biologists at Ventana Wildlife Society, located the nest of two condors, #538 and #574, inside a hollowed-out coast redwood in Big Sur. Over the years Burnett watched these two birds, nicknamed Miracle and Nomad, as they fledged and grew up in the wild. Now, they’re raising their own chick — the first chick, since the 1980s, born to parents who were not raised in captivity.

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Aiden Conway visit the redwood forest for the first time.

My First Encounter with the Giants

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The fresh, salty air hung heavy as I wound my way south along the coastal highway with expansive vistas of the Pacific Ocean stretching across and meeting the blue sky infinitely far away. I’m on my way to see the giants I’d dreamed about since I was a kid. Could it be true? Entire cars driving through a tunnel in a tree trunk? No way.

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Latino Conservation Week 2017. Photo courtesy of Hispanic Access Foundation

A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity in the Sequoia

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On July 15-16, 2017, Latino Conservation Week was in full swing and we had the privilege to participate in visiting this beautiful national park with a group of city youth, young adults and youth leaders ranging from different backgrounds and ages from Los Angeles.

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A glimpse of a mountain lion caught by wildlife cameras on the San Vicente property.

A Mountain Lions’ Perspective: Humans Are Terrifying

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A few years ago, Justine Smith, a researcher with the Santa Cruz Puma Project, observed an interesting pattern; in human-populated areas, mountain lions killed more prey but spent less time feeding. Researchers weren’t sure why, but they suspected it had to do with lions’ fear of people.

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Photo by Tom Burke, Flickr Creative Commons

5 Sweet Swimming Holes Under the Redwoods

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Hiking and swimming go together like a hot meal and a cool drink — one is invigorating, the other is refreshing. Together, they make a wonderful combo. So, where are some great places to go swimming under the redwoods, you might ask? Here are five great recommendations for you. Dive right in!

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California State Parks protects 280 parks statewide, like Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Ginny Dexter.

The Transformation of California State Parks

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With 280 parks across 1.6 million acres, hosting more than 74 million visitors last fiscal year alone, California is one of the largest state park systems in the United States. In a focused and comprehensive effort to keep these world-class parks open and thriving, seasoned leaders from California State Parks and outside entities helped plan for and implement 60 ambitious initiatives, from a new state-of-the-art reservation system to increased protections and improvements for the parks statewide. Read about some of the improvements for redwood state parks.

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Giant sequoia in North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway, California. Photo by age fotostock / Alamy

Excellent Half-Day Redwood Hikes

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Summer is here, and we’ve got daylight hours to burn. Even with a busy schedule, you can take a day trip before the sun goes down. Here are recommendations for three excellent half-day redwood hikes. Enjoy!

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José González, Executive Director of Latino Outdoors. Photo by Jordan Bloch, Earthjustice

José González Promotes Discovery in the Outdoors

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Outdoor adventure is often characterized as a highly idiosyncratic pursuit, one that engages a single individual with the challenges of nature. That’s all well and good, but José González, the founding Executive Director of Latino Outdoors, promotes another perspective: connecting communities and families with the power and beauty of the planet’s wild places.

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