Message from the President


The seasonal changes of Fall and Winter often inspire us to reflect. To say we are living in turbulent times describes more than just our climate-driven weather patterns. However dark the impending storms may feel, Trees Foundation and our partner groups have always tried to focus on nurturing our connections to the land to create a future we can feel empowered to influence in a positive way by sustaining a healthy world around us. And we’re happy to report that with help from the work of some of our Partner Groups and early rains here on the North Coast, there are now happy salmon venturing up our rivers to spawn.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said “change is the only constant in life” and Trees Foundation has experienced a number of changes since our last issue of Forest & River News. Through it all, we are able to find grace and gratitude as we look to the ancient trees among us that have weathered many changes and remain rooted and resilient. We have had to say a reluctant farewell to our long-time board president, Susy Barsotti, who retired in July after decades of service (see here). She was a steady hand at the helm and will be greatly missed.

Having been active with Trees since its inception, I’ve decided its my turn to become the Board President and we’ve now taken a leap of faith and are thrilled to announce after 32 years, we’ve hired our first Executive Director to help lead an expansion here as well as two new inspiring staff members. We’ve also added a new board member, John Wilhelm. (See here)

This is exactly the time we need to step forward with more strength, love, and intention. We need to be the “ones we’ve been waiting for” and create the world that we hope our children and seven generations more may healthily inhabit.

Recently I have been rereading aloud a favorite book—with which many of you are already familiar—that has greatly influenced my connection to the natural world. The messages within Braiding Sweetgrass resonate with a beauty and grace I’ve never experienced before. So many “aha” moments. It was crafted by a brilliant writer named Robin Wall Kimmerer who is also a mother, botanist, scientist, decorated professor, and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is able to bridge the academic scientific world’s approach to plants and nature with wisdom garnered over thousands of years by the original inhabitants of this continent.

She directly speaks about cooperation, collaboration, and communication between humans and the natural world around us. She writes about reciprocity and our responsibility to give back if we receive the gifts of bounty from our forests and natural resources.

Providence has it that it is the 10th anniversary of the book’s release. I have been so inspired that I wanted to share this wisdom with our Trees Foundation supporters. I reached out to Robin’s publisher, Milkweed Editions, who generously donated a number of books to gift to our donors.

We are now able to offer a free copy of Braiding Sweetgrass with every donation of $100 or more. We are excited to pass Robin’s wisdom on as a thank you for your generosity. If you already own a copy, we can send one to a friend of yours as a gift. 

We would like to take this time celebrate all the good work we and our Partner Groups have accomplished in these years. Sometimes trying to do good work in the world can be a thankless job, but we are extending a huge shout of thank you to all who have encouraged, supported, and collaborated with us.

Enjoy the season, Leib