You may celebrate Valentine’s Day with chocolates or a bouquet of red roses. But in 2011, Piedmont, California, attorney Cameron Wolfe gave his wife, Fran, something much bigger He worked with Save the Redwoods League to establish the Fran B. Wolfe Redwood Grove in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
The Wolfe family’s affection for redwoods goes way back. Cameron’s grandmother Winifred Brown helped win protection for the Garden Club of America Grove in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. His aunt “Winnie” Brown Bell was chair of the Garden Club’s redwoods committee and on the Council of Save the Redwoods League. A redwood grove near Pepperwood, California, honors Bell.
Later Fran became a redwood defender in her own right. Heir to Winnie’s photo collection, she traveled all over the United States entertaining and enlightening Garden Club members with her talk “An Historical and Hysterical Look at the Garden Club of America Redwood Grove.” Instead of charging a fee, she encouraged clubs to make donations to Save the Redwoods League.
“The more she did, the keener we got on the grove program,” Cameron said.
In the fall of 2010, Fran was diagnosed with breast cancer. Surgery and radiation ensued in December. That’s when Cameron decided it was time to act on an idea he’d been toying with. He called the League and made secret arrangements for a grove dedication.
On Valentine’s Day, “I gave her a card saying that her gift was going to be creation of her own redwood grove,” Cameron said. “As soon as she was well enough, we would have the fun of picking it out.”
Fran was thrilled. And Cameron has the glow of someone who found the perfect gift.
“It lifted her spirits even more than I thought it might,” he said. “It gave her the incentive to bounce back.”
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