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Susan Juhl’s Love of Trees Is a Family Affair

League member Susan Juhl was glad to protect redwoods marked for harvesting at Big River-Mendocino Old-Growth Redwoods.
League member Susan Juhl was glad to protect redwoods marked for harvesting at Big River-Mendocino Old-Growth Redwoods.

Susan Juhl is a great devotee of classical music, and she shares her passion with California’s North Coast. One of the first programmers on KZYX, a community radio station that broadcasts from Mendocino County, Susan hosts Loose Canon Classics, a show that airs on the station on the first two Tuesday mornings. She does her own programming, selecting her music from a personal collection of 5,000 CDs.

But music isn’t all she loves. Susan is an ardent conservationist, and is particularly impassioned about forest preservation. Indeed, a love of trees runs in the family.  Susan’s father-in-law had a nursery in St. Paul before he moved the family to California. He planted many of the big trees lining the streets of Minneapolis.

“He loved trees, and we teased him that he preferred them to people,” Susan recalled.

Susan’s husband, Jerry, shared her dedication to forest preservation. The Juhls were highly successful television scriptwriters; Jerry was the head writer for The Muppet Show, and Susan was a writer on Fraggle Rock. They moved to the Mendocino County village of Caspar, where they lived for nearly 30 years, devoting much energy to Save the Redwoods League and contributing generously to redwood forest conservation.

When Jerry passed away, Susan continued her advocacy and support of the redwoods, including a recent gift that helped the League buy Big River-Mendocino Old-Growth Redwoods, a rare example of two distinct forest types in one magnificent location. The land supports both a pygmy forest and ancient redwood groves near the village of Mendocino.

“Jerry loved redwoods,” Susan recalled. “He had a special connection to them.  Protecting the redwoods so close to home meant so much to him, just as it means so much to me now.  These beautiful ancient trees are right in our backyard.  It’s such a wonder to stand under them – it’s almost like being in a leafy ocean.”

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Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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