Michele Luna shared a story about an inspiring moment with a child who participated in her organization’s redwood education program (pictured), thanks to your support of Save the Redwoods League. The anecdote is from Luna’s colleague, Annie Cresswell: The student hiked and completed activities in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve Area. “Then the student said, ‘Thank you for letting me come to your park!’ I said, ‘This is your park! You can come here with your family and friends.’
“The look on her face when she realized that this park was accessible to her and her family was priceless,” Cresswell said. “She later shared with me that she has brought her family to the park and showed them her favorite places and what she learned.”
Your generous support helps us build the next generation of redwoods caretakers (including this student) who are needed to protect the magical redwood forests forever. Our Education Program helps teach new, diverse generations about redwood forests, why they matter and what needs to be done to protect them.
Experiences like this one with local students inspire Luna (pictured) and her team to continue bringing the magic of redwoods to more than 5,000 K-12 students annually at Armstrong. Luna is Executive Director of the Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods (external link), which partners with California State Parks in the Russian River District to promote preservation through education and stewardship.
Because of the quality of Stewards’ redwood education program, the League honored her and her team with the Redwoods Educator of the Year award. Luna and Stewards were selected from among 38 recipients of 2010 League Education Program grants.
A League education partner since 2004, Stewards received a $500 prize to enhance its current redwood education program. Thanks to you, our grants to Stewards have helped them serve more than 15,000 people.
Each year, Stewards recruits and trains docents, who lead about 1,500 students from the San Francisco Bay Area through Armstrong’s shady forest of towering redwoods, some taller than a 30-floor building. With some trees older than 1,400 years, Armstrong is a reminder of the magnificent redwood forest that covered much of this area before logging began in the 19th century.
Stewards’ docents teach students about the trees, other plants, animals and local history. In addition, Stewards facilitates the visits of 5,000 students annually, enabling schools to sign up through the organization for a waiver of fees to enter the park. Many of these youths have never seen a redwood forest before, even though they live nearby.
Our 2010 grant of $3,000 also supported expansion of Stewards’ activity-based Redwood Ecology Program at local schools. In that program, all first-, second- and third-graders visit Armstrong up to five times during the year. They meet park staff members and learn about animals in the redwood forest. For instance, they visit a pond to learn about the life cycle of frogs. To learn about the water cycle, they learn a song. Developing skits is the final activity to reinforce the lessons.
“It’s a joy for Stewards to inspire children by introducing them to the redwood forest,” Luna said. “We thank League members for their support to help us nurture the spirits of so many through our programs. Love for places in nature like the redwood forest often begins in childhood, and it’s this fondness that will save these places in the future.”