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Celebrating 100 Years of Saving Trees

By Katie Morell

Save The Redwoods League works to protect redwood forests in California, specifically focusing on the preservation of coastal redwood trees and giant sequoias. The organization purchases forests and works to restore them, often partnering with California State Parks to open lands to the public. Save the Redwoods has a robust education program where more than 7,500 underserved youth per year are introduced to redwoods, as well as science and innovation programs, where research is done on how to best regenerate and protect forests.

Founders: John C. Merriam, Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn.

Budget: $34 million for 2018

Supporters: More than 19,000 individuals and institutions support The League, including the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and J.A. Woollam Foundation. Judy Otter, Charlotte Shultz and Sandy Donnell are co-chairs of this year’s Centennial Gala.

Inspiration: In 1917, conservationists Merriam, Grant and Osborn went on a road trip through the redwood forests of Northern California and came away distraught by the destruction happening in the name of logging and railroad creation. In 1918, they “purchased 40,000 acres and established The League,” says Donnell, a longtime councilmember.

Impact: Over the past 100 years, The League has saved more than 200,000 acres of forest from destruction and helped establish 66 redwood parks and reserves across California. “The impact is vast if you think about the fact that old growth redwood trees sequester more carbon than any other living plant,” says Donnell. “The importance to our ecosystem cannot be understated.” In addition, the League grants funds to schools, parks and other nonprofits to aid in redwood education. Many of its programs are geared toward bringing underserved youth into the forests to see the trees firsthand.

Get Involved: The League welcomes donations, and has a monthly membership program. Tickets are on sale (selling quickly) to its Centennial Celebration Gala (it’s first-ever gala), scheduled for the evening of Oct. 13 in Union Square with special musical guests Mickey Hart, Bob Weir and John Mayer. The following day — Oct. 14 — the community is welcome to attend the Stand For The Redwoods Festival for free at Yerba Buena Gardens.

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