Nature Is Resilient And So Are We

by Mark Welther, President and CEO, RFFI Inc.

Mark Welther, RFFI President & CEO

So far, 2020 has been a year of disruption. The coronavirus, its resulting economic crisis, and the demonstrations across the country have left us all wondering where life goes from here. Clearly, “normal” will change.

During this unsettled time, my wife Fari and I have grounded ourselves with a daily walk in the woods. We’ve been reminded how important redwood forests are to our and many peoples’ psychological and emotional wellbeing, comforted by the awareness that nature is transcendent and that redwood forests reflect the resilience of nature.

The forest-based communities of northern California are also resilient, and this spring the Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc. (RFFI) has dedicated our energy to helping our local community get through these challenging times. In order to protect the jobs of our employees and contractors, and continue our important work uninterrupted, RFFI applied for and received short-term relief through a federal Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loan.

Through the shutdown, the Usal Forest then kept those workers busy as one of California’s “essential” workplaces. In our 50,000-acre Usal Forest every day, RFFI’s staff continues experimenting with and learning about a new kind of forestry – one that takes this young working forest, logged-over for generations, moves it to a sustainable level of production, and restores it to health and balance while restoring the communities that depend upon it.

You can be assured that RFFI is continuing all of the programs that earned RFFI a feature in the recent Leonardo DiCaprio HBO climate change documentary, “Ice on Fire,” namely carbon capture and sequestration through improved forest management, massive tree planting, and putting carbon into the soil in the form of biochar.

RFFI Resiliency
RFFI is in the process of raising money to complete the purchase the Reist Ranch. This 95-acre homestead, located entirely within the Usal Forest, is representative of Northern California’s redwood and Douglas fir forests, and RFFI hopes to develop it as a mixed-use center for community access and education..

The Reist Ranch and all of these important programs exist because of your charitable support. And, even though RFFI has postponed four spring and summer events, we are resilient, too. We’ve retooled everyone’s favorite picnic in the woods, RFFI’s Annual Meeting, as an exciting virtual event on June 24th. We will also be providing you with more opportunities through the summer and fall to participate in the development of the Reist Ranch and other programs, such as our Third Annual Usal Hopper Mountain Biking Event, currently still planned for October 17th.

I invite you – if you are able – to make an impact gift and support RFFI at this challenging time. We need everyone who loves redwood forests to do their part in order to make our goal of raising $100,000 by September 1. Can we count on you to provide critical support? 

And, then let’s start planning to meet out in the woods, sooner rather than later!

Pond in Reist Ranch forest: RFFI is in the process of raising funds to purchase this redwood and Douglas fir forest. Credit: photo Mark Welther