Activist Corner

Flowers for Susy

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Susy Barsotti, a long-time member of the Hog Farm at Black Oak Ranch in Mendocino, and tireless environmental advocate, recently stepped down from the Trees Foundation Board of Directors after a quarter-century of dedicated service. She served Trees with aplomb, commitment, and boundless energy. Longtime Trees staffer Barbara Ristow recalls Susy “always promoting Trees” showing up at unaffiliated events with a wicker basket over her arm full of Forest and River News. Susy helped to set up Trees Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund that continues to this day, and always generously provided space at the music events held at the Hog Farm. Trees received many generous and sustaining donations because of her outreach efforts. Barbara emphatically added, “Trees is truly losing an icon.”


Trees’ Board members in 2005, left to right, Bill Eastwood, Karen Lawson, Leib Ostrow, Rose Madrone, and Susy!

Board member Lenya Quinn-Davidson had the following to share: “It must have been about 15 years ago when Susy asked me and my husband Eamon to join the Board of the Trees Foundation. Susy is our Hog Farm family, like an aunt to me and more like a second mom to Eamon, so it was fun to explore a more professional context under her leadership. Susy brought us into Trees to bring some fresh ideas, and I admired her for that. She could see that Trees, with its roots in early environmental activism, could benefit from some next-generation perspectives, even if they were sometimes a little different or uncomfortable. That open-mindedness was a defining feature of Susy’s leadership at Trees: she was always ready to hear different perspectives, elevate other people’s talents and ideas, and explore new ways of thinking about and approaching issues. I’ve always thought of Susy as Queen Susy; she has a commanding presence that many leaders could only aspire to, and a glowing grandeur that comes so naturally, so regally. I already miss her leadership and insight at Trees, but I’m luckier than the rest of you because, for me, she’s still family!”

Trees Foundation’s new board president, Leib Ostrow, voiced the sadness felt by Susy’s departure, “She has been with us for so long, it is hard to remember times without her. She was always extremely generous with her time and energy and able to use her friendships and business connections to encourage others to support Trees’ mission. Possessing everything one could ask for in a leader, she brought the best out in people. Susy has always had a huge heart and an incredibly strong sense of conviction. Her awesome sense of humor has helped us through difficult times. “

Susy, We miss your devoted participation and remarkable laughter already, but wish you the very best!

With all our love and appreciation, Trees Foundation Staff and Board