Through this blog I often write about my experiences with youths in the redwoods. I love seeing the expressions on kids’ faces when they see a banana slug, find a tiny redwood cone, or see a tall redwood tree for the first time. The joy they experience being in the forest fills my soul! The goal of exposing these students to the forest is just that: exposure. I want to give them time to explore, experience and soak in what being in the forest is all about.
For adults, some of the goals of spending time in the forest can be different. In addition to exploring and enjoying the forest, adult outdoor education may be about exercise or using the forest to introduce and demonstrate big concepts like climate change, fire, or watershed health. With adults, I dive deeper into such concepts and have meaningful discussions. So, when I have an opportunity to bring adults into the redwood forest, I love having those important conversations.
On Wednesday, I had one such opportunity with a group of adults as we walked the trails at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga and talked about climate change. These individuals were part of the Bay Area Older Adults group. This group is all about giving older adults an opportunity to build community, learn about healthy eating, and connect and exercise in the outdoors — and we did just that. As the 28 of us walked among the bay and redwood trees, we discussed what impacts climate change might have on our forests. I shared the recent findings from the League’s Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative (RCCI) Program, and we talked about the important role redwoods play in keeping carbon out of our atmosphere. For instance, ancient redwood forests store at least three times more carbon above ground than any other forests on Earth. Of course, these stimulating conversations led to further questions about issues like the role of fire in the redwoods. We ended the hike with a few sore muscles but much richer in knowledge about our local forest.
No matter what your age, spending time among the redwoods can be a rewarding experience. To find a redwood forest near you visit our Redwoods Finder interactive map.