I Looked for Inspiration. This is What I Found.

These kids will always remember their redwoods experience. Photo by Paolo Vescia.
These kids will always remember their redwoods experience. Photo by Paolo Vescia.

My career at Save the Redwoods League began on a trail in an old-growth redwood grove in Big Basin.  It was the Friday before I walked in the League’s door as its new President and CEO.  Hoping to find inspiration and gather my thoughts, I went straight to the woods.

There among the giants, I found all the inspiration I was looking for when I came across a fantastic sight in the wilderness.  They were each about three or four feet tall, wearing all different colors, making a happy racket (with a few complaints about sore feet) and none were more than 13 years old.

Every last one of the kids on that school-sponsored hike – and there were many – was in the middle of an experience they would never forget.  Introduced to these ancient, patient, graceful and powerful trees, I wondered which of the kids would trace back their own personal journey to that moment.  I wondered how many would forever carry a new respect for the world around them, a new perspective on the challenges of their daily lives and a sense of responsibility for special places.

I admit to a bit of sentimentality when it comes to California’s redwood forests, but I couldn’t help the feeling that things got a little better for the world when that group of school kids went exploring in the forest that day.

And with that, I was ready to start my new job at Save the Redwoods League.  This is an organization that has been saving and restoring old-growth redwood forests for 95 years.  But beyond forest protection, our work is about connecting people to those forests; multiplying again and again in perpetuity the moments of joy that I saw in the faces of those school kids.

Take a look at what we are doing to get kids in the woods and to make it easy to visit redwood parks. Be sure to download the new, free Family Guide to the Coast Redwoods and Family Guide to the Giant SequoiasAnd help me get started by sharing with me your favorite redwood memory.

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About Sam Hodder


Chief Enthusiast for the Outdoors (CEO) and Prez of Save the Redwoods League, Sam brings more than 25 years of experience in overseeing land conservation programs from the remote wilderness to the inner city.

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One Response to “I Looked for Inspiration. This is What I Found.”

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    kathleen cloonan

    I am writing as a member a Garden Club of America through the Ulster Garden Club, located in the Hudson Valley, NY. I have heard that you do lectures and we sponsor an annual lecture, next year on April 16, 2019. Can you advise if you would be interested in speaking at our event, which is open to the public and usually has about 100-150 attendees? You can respond to this e mail, including your fees and expenses. Thank you. Kathleen Cloonan, Ulster Garden Club, Elizabeth Gross lecture chair.


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