Redwoods are in the news this week, reminding the world once again that Earth’s tallest trees are truly ecosystems in their own right. Teeming with life from quite literally their roots to their highest leaves, the magnificent coast redwoods are home to hundreds of other species.
As I prepared to teach my first Redwoods and Climate Change lesson in the classroom, I was admittedly nervous. This class was composed entirely of English language learners. As the students shuffled into the classroom, took their seats and began reading the board, it was clear they were excited about the week’s lesson.
We all know that redwood forests are part of a larger ecosystem, the components of which can find themselves closely intertwined and interconnected. This system can often be referred to as a watershed, where all the land-borne water downward, starting at the tops of the hills and making its way to the ocean. Everything in a watershed is connected, from the redwood forests to the San Francisco Bay — and knowing your place within the watershed can be a powerful tool in protecting these natural areas.
In the depths of winter, an amazing emergence of emerald green ferns appear on cliffs, rocks, and forest tree trucks throughout the coast redwood forest. These delicate beauties are Polypodium glycyrrhiza, commonly known as licorice fern. The species name, glycyrrhiza, means sweet root in Greek and is aptly named because the fern’s rhizome tastes faintly of licorice.
Warning: this topic is gruesome, and awesome. Last week, Land Project Manager Christine Aralia and I walked the Orick Mill Site with Texas State researcher Butch Weckerly. Butch has studied the Roosevelt elk in Redwood National and State Parks since 1997, witnessing local extinctions and population explosions of the elk over the years…
I have been to Yosemite National Park a handful of times, and on each visit I have a very different experience. Whether I am rock climbing in the valley, backpacking in Tuolumne or hiking trails with tourists from all over the world, every time the park takes my breath away. Its towering peaks, rushing waterfalls and granite rocks warrant some steep competition for other natural areas.